Sunday
November
23
2014
10:49 am
Weather

  Home
  Local News
  State / National / World
  Sports
  Opinion / Letters
  Business
  Arts / Entertainment
  Lifestyle
  Obituaries
  Calendar
  Submit Event
  Comics / Games
  Classifieds
  DJ Designers
  Archives
  Advertise With Us
  About Us
 
 
 
 
A vote for compassion
July 10, 2014, 05:00 AM The Sacramento Bee

In a vote that should prompt other California policymakers to act, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance insisting that people who suffer from severe mental illness receive care, rather than leave them to languish on the streets.

Supervisor Mark Farrell authored the ordinance creating an assisted outpatient treatment program. San Francisco supervisors voted 9-2 for it on Tuesday, sending it to Mayor Ed Lee for his expected signature.

San Francisco is the fourth county to fully embrace a 2002 state statute known as Laura’s Law, joining Nevada, Yolo and Orange counties. San Francisco is by far the most liberal, which is noteworthy. In the past, liberals have been the strongest opponents of insisting that people who are so sick that they don’t know they’re ill receive care.

The adoption of a Laura’s Law ordinance doesn’t mean individuals will be forced into locked psychiatric wards. Rather, judges could issue orders compelling people to receive care while living in their homes.

Individuals are expected to attend therapy and take anti-psychotic medication if psychiatrists deem them to be necessary. Family, police and others could request that authorities evaluate individuals for inclusion in the program. To become subject to it, a person must have been hospitalized for mental illness, or jailed in recent years.

The 2002 law legislation that authorized counties to adopt such an ordinance was named for Laura Wilcox, a college sophomore who was working as a temporary receptionist at the Nevada County Behavioral Health Department when a mentally ill man shot and killed her.

Some misguided advocates for mentally ill people take the view that people should never be coerced to get care. But clearly, the use of voluntary treatment doesn’t work for some people. Farrell estimates that fewer than 1,000 of San Francisco’s 780,000 residents might become part of the program.

Other counties should take note of San Francisco’s action, as should California’s congressional delegation.

Rep. Tim Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican, is pushing HR 3717, which would free federal funds for expanded care for the most severely mentally ill people, and relax federal privacy law that denies family members access to information about mentally ill loved ones. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of Bakersfield, ought to make this issue a priority.

Republicans who have not joined Murphy are Reps. Doug LaMalfa of Richland, Tom McClintock of Elk Grove and Jeff Denham of Turlock. Democrats Doris Matsui of Sacramento and John Garamendi of Walnut Grove have not signed on, either.

Several congressional members were in the Legislature in 2002 and voted for Laura’s Law, including McClintock, Rep. Jim Costa of Fresno and Rep. Jackie Speier of San Mateo. They should add their voices in support of Murphy’s bill.

Some people say care in the form of assisted outpatient treatment is the last resort. It’s not. The last resort is when mentally ill people commit suicide, become victims of violence, or commit crimes that land them in prison. In San Francisco, Farrell is not seeking to repeal anyone’s rights. To the contrary, he is insisting that people have a right to care.

 

 

Tags: people, mentally, should, francisco, ordinance, farrell,


Other stories from today:

Leadership
What the fork?
Devil’s Slide trail is fine as it is
 

 
Print this Page Print this Page  |  Bookmark and Share
<< Back
 
Return To Archives
 
  


 
 
 
Daily Journal Quick Poll
 
What do you think of President Obama's expansive executive actions on immigration unveiled Thursday?

About time
He had no choice after congressional inaction
He should have waited for new congressional legislation
Don't like it at all
Prospects for broader action are now eliminated

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
Former D.C. Mayor Marion Barry dies at 78
WASHINGTON — Former District of Columbia Mayor Marion Barry, whose four terms were overshadowe..
NDB, M-A win CCS volleyball crowns
  Notre Dame Belmont volleyball captured the Central Coast Section Division IV championship ..
More >>  
 
 
  
 
  
 
©2014 San Mateo Daily Journal
San Mateo County legal notices