Thursday, December 13, 2007

Help those who need treatment

We need you on our team to help fight for better treatment laws and policies for people with severe untreated mental illnesses. Let me give you six good reasons why the Treatment Advocacy Center is worthy of your support.

1. Because we are helping people.

A mother whose son had schizophrenia sent me an email. Her son was unwilling to take medication and had misdemeanor charges pending. I recommended she research her state’s commitment laws on our website. Two days later, very pleased, she wrote back. She was from Michigan and had discovered Michigan’s Kevin’s Law, allowing assisted outpatient treatment. Armed with her new knowledge, she was going to accompany her son to court and insist on his getting treatment under her state’s law.

2. Because we will use your money better than other charities will.

Charity Navigator awarded TAC four stars, its highest possible rating, saying TAC “outperforms the majority of nonprofits in America with respect to fiscal responsibility.”

3. Because we are making a real difference.

The Treatment Advocacy Center has been involved in reform of 18 laws in nine years and has continued to be a loud voice on the national stage, actually changing the shape of the message about the need for treatment for those who are the most ill.

4. Because we change commitment laws in states when change is needed.

For five years, TAC worked with Illinois advocates, legislators, and stakeholder organizations to shepherd a better law through the legislature. The result, passed this year, is the greatest improvement to Illinois’ treatment law in decades, permitting court-ordered treatment before someone presents a demonstrable threat of immediate physical harm. The law will make mandated treatment a priority over mandated psychosis, and help hundreds of people each year. “This means so much to so many families,” said Linda Virgil, chair of NAMI Illinois’ public policy committee.

5. Because we don’t only change laws, we follow up to get them used.

After successfully changing Florida’s commitment law in 2004, TAC worked with the Seminole County Mental Health Center and the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office to create a model program in that county. In the first 18 months, the new assisted outpatient treatment program resulted in a 43 percent decrease in hospital days and a 72 percent decrease in jail days for those severely mentally ill individuals in the program. The savings totaled more than $15,000 per patient.

6. Because we educate the public about what is wrong and how to change it.

During 2007, an average of 15 million newspaper readers, radio listeners, and television viewers had a chance to see or hear our message each month. Our staff also made presentations in states like Delaware, California, Idaho, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia, and our website and blog have substantially increased in traffic.

We are the only organization that focuses exclusively on the most severely mentally ill individuals. TAC’s work is making a real difference – and support from people like you is what makes it all possible.

Please make a gift today.

With appreciation, E. Fuller Torrey, MD President

P.S. – Because we still take no money from pharmaceutical companies, support from individuals like you allowed TAC’s quick response to the Virginia Tech tragedy. Our message about treatment was heard on Anderson Cooper 360, NPR, CBS Evening News, and CNN, and in papers like the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. Your gift ensures that TAC can continue to do whatever it takes to get the message out.

P.P.S. – You can donate right now on our website