My Daughter’s Treatment Success Story – personally speaking
(Oct. 4, 2013) I write the way I speak. The way I speak these days is with impatience at the hesitancy to implement or fully use involuntary treatment laws in every state.
I wasn't always this way. When my daughter had her second psychotic break, I went to our urgent psychiatric center to fill out the involuntary petition and found myself sitting in the chair unable to speak or write due to crying uncontrollably at the thought that I was there quite literally begging for my 19 year old to get the medical care she desperately needed.
And beg I would. I would have done anything. But they accepted that petition and the other three I have had to fill out during the course of her now almost 10-year battle with serious mental illness.
Getting the care she needed still didn't stop me from being curled up in the fetal position the third time we had to go through the same process worrying about how my precious girl was supposed to survive in a world that prefers to incarcerate her or leave her on the streets.
My daughter's illness included a lack of insight, which means she was too sick to know she was sick. I have never needed studies or medical expertise to explain to me that her illness affects her brain, therefore her ill brain may not allow her understand she is sick. Common sense told me that.
But due to the fact that she was allowed access via our involuntary program to the medical care she needed for almost eight years, her illness relented and she now has insight. For the last year and two months, she has been receiving care voluntarily.
I still worry though. She is still mentally ill. There are no guarantees the symptoms of her illness won't rear their ugly heads again. And she still lives in a world that would prefer to incarcerate her or leave her on the street.
But I am grateful she has made it this far. I no longer find myself curled up in a ball sobbing.
Now I'm just impatient waiting for everyone to have access to medical care, including those with brain disorders rendering them too sick to ask for it on their own.
- THE MOTHER OF A YOUNG WOMAN WHO BENEFITED FROM ARIZONA’S ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT (AOT) LAW.
Court-ordered outpatient treatment requires that individuals with severe mental illness adhere to a prescribed treatment plan as a condition of living in the community. One of the mains goals of outpatient treatment is to facilitate more consistent adherence to treatment for the people in whom severe mental illness impairs the ability to seek and voluntarily comply with treatment. This treatment typically combines a court order and a comprehensive treatment and services plan. When implemented, the court order requires the individual patient to follow his or her treatment plan. The court's role and the legal procedures related to outpatient commitment laws vary from state to state. Typically, the court commits the patient to the treatment system. Just as important, it commits the treatment system to the patient.
The Department of Justice in 2012 certified assisted outpatient treatment as an evidence-based practice for reducing crime and violence. A study in New York documented that, among AOT recipients:
- 77 percent fewer experienced hospitalizations compared to before participation.
- 74 percent fewer experienced homelessness compared to before participation
- 83 percent fewer experienced arrests compared to before participation
- 88 percent fewer experienced incarceration compared to before participation