YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE-SHARE YOUR STORY
Serious mental illness advocates across our country have been fighting for decades to reform the broken system of healthcare which has led to the funneling of people living with serious brain disorders into the criminal justice system. No one should have their medical illness criminalized and end up on the streets homeless, incarcerated or in a morgue. More often than not, the people who are living with these diseases and are veterans of the system are left unheard. I ask, “Who is better to advocate for reform?” We need your voices to shout out loud and clear to help us change outdated laws and crash through barriers blocking treatment, impeding housing that heals and filling jail cells with treatable sick people in our country.
Your first person accounts and excerpts from those accounts can be used in advocacy articles and other publications to push for needed reforms for better treatment, promoting positive systematic change moving forward. Here are links to two examples, a personal account by Eric Smith and pulled quotes used in an advocacy article by Susan Inman:
Depending on the number of stories we receive, we could produce a book of your experiences.
Please share your positive outcome stories of involuntary commitment in hospitals or with Assisted Outpatient Treatment Programs (AOTs)*. We will use your stories only with your permission.
Linda Harris Mimms, MA Public Policy, Duke University, Serious Brain Disorders Advocate
*Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT): An estimated 7.9 million Americans suffer from untreated severe bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) is court-ordered treatment for those individuals in this population who meet strict legal criteria. Most commonly, they are too ill to recognize their own need for medical care. Assisted outpatient treatment is known by different terms in different states, e.g., “involuntary outpatient treatment” or “mandatory outpatient treatment.” Source: Treatment Advocacy Center.