Friday, October 24, 2008

Need for Treatment

Need for treatment (NFT) standards appear in various forms across the country. Some states specifically identify a need for treatment as part of the criteria commitment and some states have a commitment standard that amounts to a need for treatment through court interpretation. Many states NFT standards appear in their definitions of “gravely disabled.” For instance, some states define gravely disabled as a person who is unable to provide for needed psychiatric care. Arkansas’ law moves the country closer to ensuring that individuals suffering from mental illness receive the treatment they need.

"Mental health experts in Arkansas and I had become frustrated by the law's limitations. We were determined to do more than we had in the past. Last year, we pursued legislation that offered greater flexibility for people in need of mental health services."
Johnson introduced House Bill 2681 to clarify the definition of “clear and present” danger. This bill included criteria similar to the criteria for assisted outpatient treatment under Kendra’s Law in New York. Arkansas’ new law became effective in December, 2007 making Arkansas one of nearly 20 states that have adopted improved treatment standards over the past decade. Arkansas’ new law allows for assisted treatment when a person with a severe mental illness has an impaired understanding of condition, needs treatment to prevent harmful deterioration, and has a history of noncompliance.