Saturday, February 21, 2015

SAVE LIVES - PASS HB65, so people can have the right to be in their right mind!

Speech to support HB65, which was "unanimously" passed out of House and Welfare Committee on Thursday, February 12, 2015
Imagine your son or daughter has a cancer in their brain.

Imagine their doctor said, “the cancer is treatable and the prognosis with medication and therapy is good!” Yet, imagine your son or daughter’s brain cancer does not allow them to understand they have an illness and they simply refuse to ride with you to see a doctor … to discuss their treatment options. Or even when you “bribe them to see a doctor” they say, “I hope you hang yourself – I don’t have a illness” –  and the doctor must leave the room?

Imagine that even if you were able to obtain guardianship over your son or daughter’s fiancées – you are still unable to help them access the treatment they need to survive or to slow down the deterioration of the cancer. What would you do?

Imagine that on countless occasions, licensed medical providers said your only option was to set your very ill son/daughter up to fail, so they will end up in jail. This sounds barbaric and inhumane, right?

This is exactly what it is like, in attempting to help our ill family members with serious mental illnesses that have a symptom known as AH-no-sog-NO-sia. {Anosognosia is a neurological syndrome is believed to be the single largest reason why individuals with mental illness do not take their medications.}

When a person’s brain disease deteriorates, they lack capacity to understand their "need for treatment" or informed consent. They deserve a full capacity evaluation, so they can potentially "qualify" for a "right to be involuntarily stabilized/treated" OUTPATIENT, in the community – not punished in jail, where they most certainly will lose their civil liberties.
{For those individuals and state/federal-funded agencies that state that HB65, is unconstitutional … I challenge those individuals to walk a mile in my son’s shoes. Forty-five states have court-ordered outpatient treatment laws - some over 40 years old. The U.S. Supreme Court has never found any of these laws unconstitutional.}
As an advocate, I receive many calls from across from Kentucky. These families have been traumatized from a system designed only for those well enough to advocate for themselves. Families across Kentucky are so broken they have become voiceless.

Imagine your beautiful daughter has this same brain disease I described earlier and disappears for months? Yet even after you file a missing person report and spend thousands on private investigators, all you learn is your daughter has been spotted in another state and has been sexually victimized.

There isn’t time today for Janis Morris, a mother from Paducah, horrific testimony, nor from Mothers like Faye Morton – a tireless NAMI advocate who advocated for assisted outpatient treatment for her son Tim over 38 years.

Faye’s son died March 29, 2014.

Kentucky’s law failed Tim allowing him to suffer unnecessarily with paranoia and delusions to the point he was too afraid to eat! 

Tim died, like so many others will – but you have the power to change this, by passing HB65 today.

Faye Morton and her son Tim in 2010.

Please pass HB65, so people most at risk can receive treatment before tragedy!

Pass HB65, so people can have the right to be in their right mind!

GG Burns, has advocated for Assisted Outpatient Treatment for 5 years and has supported 3 bills in the Kentucky legislature. "Without treatment" my son will continue to be denied his civil liberties! I would like to see my son achieve his goals, to be in his right mind. But without ‘sweeping’ changes in Ky's public policy, I fear he will die young or end up in prison all from a "treatable disease".

HB65 is supported by many Kentucky
mental health organizations.

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