Friday, April 18, 2008

How Painful Tragedy Can Result In More Treatment And Less Stigma

Not-for-profit organizations play a vital role in the policy process through research, advocacy, and political activities. However, the impetus for change is many times based on factors outside of advocates’ control.

Unfortunately, the impetus for change in mental health laws tends to occur in the wake of terrible tragedies. Such tragedies occur each day, many times because severe psychiatric disorders are left untreated.

The Treatment Advocacy Center educates legislators, members of the media, and the general public that the failure to treat individuals Incapacitated by severe mental illnesses is a major reason so many of them end up being victimized, homeless, and in jails. The media tends to seize upon extreme examples, which often leads to misconceptions and stereotypes. But, we continue to strive to point out that these headline-grabbing incidents are but extreme manifestations of a far broader and profound societal crisis and to hopefully create opportunities for positive changes in the policy, legislative and social arenas.

Not only can these changes provide treatment to those most in need of care before they become dangerous, but they can also simultaneously help to dispel the stigmas surrounding individuals with severe psychiatric disorders generally periodically created by those most at risk and in need or care.