Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Editorial boards: Fix the system

The recent Washington Post article – Cho didn’t get court-ordered treatment – exposed the failure of the mental health system in Virginia, and editorial boards have published their reactions. Their resounding response? We cannot continue to let our sickest citizens fall through the cracks.

The Journal- Times in Racine, Wisconsin:
“But the 20/20 hindsight of Cho’s case should point Virginia lawmakers, judges and mental health professionals in the right direction to change their practices and their laws so that “news to us” doesn’t become terrible news to everyone, everywhere, again."

The Roanoke Times in Virginia:

“The families of people with mental illnesses know how hard it is to get them care. Those failures, too, sometimes end in violence, in suicides or murders that don't stun the world but are no less tragic to those touched by them.

By raising awareness of Virginia's need for a better mental health care system, Cho's case raises a fourth question, the perennial question: Will Virginia provide the resources adequate to the need? Now will it?”

The Charleston Daily Mail in West Virginia:

“But while the least-restrictive environment protects the rights of the patient, it can endanger the lives of others, as the Cho case showed.

Everything is left up to the patient, who is too sick to be making those decisions.

Dr. Helen Smith, a forensic psychologist in Tennessee, mocked that, saying, "Maybe the next step should be to let criminals decide whether or not they want to go to jail or not."”

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