Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Neglecting an important solution

A recent letter to the editor in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Treating mentally ill

Re: "Colleges cram for campus security," Aug. 26:

The emphasis on what to do after an incident such as the tragedy at Virginia Tech is neglecting an even more important solution.

The final report from the Virginia Tech Review Panel recommended that "the involuntary treatment criteria be improved to allow involuntary treatment in a broader range of cases involving severe mental illness."

Legislation has been introduced to change Pennsylvania law to allow for assisted outpatient treatment (AOT). Similar to New York's Kendra's Law, the goal is to enable more consistent adherence to treatment for the small minority whose severe mental illnesses impair their ability to voluntarily comply through a prescribed community treatment plan.

The Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee will be holding public hearings on Oct. 2. People interested in preventive strategies should attend and ask our senators to vote for SB 226 now.

Jeanette Castello

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