James Masse struggled with severe mental illness
for years. Eventually, he was placed in Adult Protective Services, but even that wasn’t enough to help him. When Masse was found walking into oncoming traffic, Kendra’s Law
- New York’s version of assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) - was enacted for him. According to Megan Johnson, deputy clinical director at the Office of Community Services for Warren and Washington Counties:
It's a "last resort," Johnson said, but can help people avoid ending up in jail
or an emergency room.
"It is the most restrictive measure available to us, and taking away an individual's freedom of choice is not something we take lightly," she said. "But it allows us to intervene earlier, before they become an imminent danger to themselves or others.
Thanks to AOT Masse’s life has turned around. Masse says:
"I'm not ashamed of having a chemical imbalance. It's something that happened by accident; it's not like I'm being struck down for doing something bad," he said.
"If other people can help and not be the way I was, that's good."
Labels: Assisted Outpatient Treatment, Kendra's Law, New York