Friday, September 02, 2005

APA president calls AOT "caring coercion"

The issue of assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) often elicits emotional responses, so it is particularly refreshing to see today's article in Psychiatric News by Dr. Steven Sharfstein, President of the American Psychiatric Association.

He terms AOT (also known as involuntary outpatient commitment) and mental health courts "caring coercion," calling AOT "a preventative approach to trying to avoid not only inpatient care but also the much more deleterious outcome of homelessness and incarceration-the modern epidemic for severely and persistently mentally ill people in America."

That the president of APA would make the issue of assisted outpatient treatment such a high priority signals again how important the issue is in psychiatry today. Dr. Sharfstein should be applauded for taking a position on such a difficult issue.