Friday, April 04, 2008

Assisted Outpatient Treatment: Using What is Already In Place

Various forms of assisted outpatient treatment laws exist in 42 states. When used effectively, assisted outpatient treatment substantially improves the lives of those suffering from severe mental illnesses.

Numerous scientific studies have proven that assisted outpatient treatment is effective in ensuring treatment compliance. However, many states still fail to employ what is at their disposal. Instead, readmissions, homelessness, and incarceration often triumph over the development of protocol. Although states often blame the lack of resources for the problem, restrictive commitment standards based on dangerousness alone are often the reason for not using existing assisted outpatient treatment laws. Other times, it is the simple lack of bureaucratic gumption. We should be seeking changes in both the laws and the processes (or lack of) to ensure that people in need of treatment receive it.