Tuesday, October 14, 2008

A Safety Net, Now It's Time for a Treatment Policy

Since 1937, when the Golden Gate Bridge first linked San Francisco with the north side of the bay, some 1250 people have jumped to their deaths.  Now, after decades of debate, the Golden Gate District voted on October 13, 2008, to install anti-suicide nets.

The vote was a long-sought victory for mental health advocates.  As it turned out, the symbolic bridge also earned the dubious distinction of being the world’s most popular suicide site.

A safety net is certainly a sound move.  There is, however, much more San Francisco, Marin, and all of California’s other counties can take to help ensure that people with severe mental illnesses receive treatment.  That is to put in place Laura’s Law. 

Laura’s Law can bring assisted outpatient treatment to every county in California.  This is a proven way to both ensure that people who need treatment the most receive help.  It is a proven way to reduce suicide and to keep people alive and well.  Now is the time to put in place this treatment policy in every California County.