Saturday, September 25, 2010

Change Mental Health Laws in Kentucky

My friend GG Burns in Kentucky was my inspiration for this blog.  I so admire her courage and tenacity as she advocates for the severe and persistent mentally ill in Kentucky.  She's an amazing mom ... and artist!  Check out her blog: http://changementalhealthlawsinky.blogspot.com/

The Treatment Advocacy Center: Who they are and what they do.

Mission 

The Treatment Advocacy Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illnesses. The organization promotes laws, policies and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. 

 

Activities

Since its founding in 1998, The Treatment Advocacy Center has grown to be a respected,  independent voice for reforming treatment laws nationwide. We engage in a wide range of activities and projects aimed at increasing treatment for people with severe mental illnesses. Twenty-two states have made important changes to their treatment laws as a direct result of our advocacy since we were founded, and more progress is on the horizon. This website is designed to provide the public and policy makers with a reliable source of information about state treatment laws and family members with information and resources for helping loved ones with severe mental illness. 

The Treatment Advocacy Center accepts no monetary donations from pharmaceutical companies and relies almost exclusively on gifts from individuals and private foundations.

The Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI) is a supporting organization of The Treatment Advocacy Center.

For more details about the TAC, visit More About Us .
To view their Case Statement Brochure (2008), click here .
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I am not sick ...

I Am Not Sick I Don't Need Help! By Xavier Amador, Ph.D.
A must-read to learn about anosognosia - the lack of insight that causes people to think they are not ill when they are. http://www.xavieramador.com/books.html

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

AOT: Myths vs. Reality

Some individuals and organizations have raised concerns about Kendra’s Law (New York’s law for assisted outpatient treatment). Most of these fears are based on misinformation or misunderstanding. In fact, Kendra’s Law has been proven to successfully reduce the incidences of hospitalization, homelessness, arrest, incarceration, and victimization of those in the program, as well as harm to self and harm to others.

MYTH  Kendra's Law doesn’t work.
REALITY  Two separate studies over 10 years proved Kendra’s Law
  • Helps the mentally ill by reducing homelessness (74%); suicide attempts (55%); and substance abuse (48%)
  • Keeps the public safer by reducing physical harm to others (47%) and property destruction (43%)
  • Saves money by reducing hospitalization (77%); arrests (83%); and incarceration (87%).

MYTH  Enhanced Voluntary Services (EVS) are an alternative to Kendra’s Law.
REALITY  EVS programs and Kendra’s Law serve two mutually exclusive populations. EVS programs serve those who ‘voluntarily’ accept services. Kendra’s Law, by definition (9.60(c)(5)), is for those won’t accept voluntary services.  If it was the ‘threat’ of a court-order that kept the EVS group compliant, then Kendra’s Law needs to be made permanent to continue to help the EVS group.

MYTH  Court orders do not confer any benefits beyond those gained from increased services.
REALITY  The 2009 study researched this issue and found
“The increased services available under AOT clearly improve recipient outcomes, however, the AOT court order, itself, and its monitoring do appear to offer additional benefits in improving outcomes.”
  • The likelihood of a hospital admission over six months was  “highly statistically significant” and lower among AOT recipients than among voluntary recipients.
  • AOT patients were less likely to be arrested than their voluntary counterparts
  • Persons receiving AOT for 12 months or more had a substantially higher level of personal engagement in treatment than those receiving services voluntarily.

MYTH  Assisted Outpatient Treatment is racist.
REALITY  “We find no evidence that the AOT Program is disproportionately selecting African Americans for court orders, nor is there evidence of a disproportionate effect on other minority populations. Our interviews with key stakeholders across the state corroborate these findings.”

MYTH  There are unacceptable geographic differences in how AOT is implemented.
REALITY There is little variation in how AOT is implemented in counties that use it. Some counties found it difficult to use due to the lack of a qualified psychiatrist, the inability of consumers to stipulate to findings, lack of judicial education and other factors.  (See TAC Fact Sheet for changes to make it easier and less costly for counties.). Other geographic disparities are appropriate given some counties are urban and others rural; some have more hospitals and others have more prisons. 

MYTH  Kendra’s Law will lead to a roundup of mentally ill individuals who will be forced into treatment.
REALITY  Kendra’s Law’s narrowly-focused eligibility criteria, stringent multi-layer administrative requirements, independent judicial review and strong due process protections protect against misuse. Of the 650,000 individuals served by OMH, only 2,300 (.003%) have been allowed into Kendra’s Law.
 
MYTH  Kendra’s Law should not be made permanent because the legislature will lose its ability to oversee and monitor the program.
REALITY  The legislature has the ability to continue to monitor all government programs including those that are permanent.

MYTH  Putting a new sunset on Kendra’s Law will accomplish the same thing as making it permanent.
REALITY  Kendra’s Law should be made permanent because it is successful at improving patient outcomes, keeping the public safer, and saving government money. Kendra’s Law should be made permanent so evaluation of patients for violence and inclusion in the program becomes a routine part of discharge planning. Kendra’s Law should be made permanent so providers can make the infrastructure investments they need to make it work.  Kendra’s Law should be made permanent to protect the legislature from pressure from lobbyist. Kendra’s Law should be made permanent to protect the mental health community from redebating what has been proven. 
MYTH  Kendra's Law is unconstitutional.
REALITY  Kendra’s Law in New York has been challenged twice and the courts found it to be constitutional. From Correctional Mental Health Report: "In sum, the law has thus far survived every challenge; challenges ranging from attacks on the law's essence to attacks on operational detail." (1)
From an article in the New York Law Journal: "'Kendra's Law provides the means by which society does not have to sit idly by and watch the cycle of decompensation, dangerousness and hospitalization continually repeat itself. Moreover ... Kendra's Law is narrowly tailored to achieve these goals within the framework of the involuntary and emergency commitment procedures of the Mental Hygiene Law,' Justice Cutrona wrote."

MYTH  Kendra's Law will be used indiscriminately, affecting a huge number of New Yorkers with mental illness.
REALITY  Kendra's Law is affecting less than 1/2 of one percent of all New Yorkers with either manic-depressive illness (bipolar disorder) or schizophrenia in any given year. According to the New York State Office of Mental Health, between its implementation and September 2002, there were 7,360 investigations, resulting in 2,216 court orders. That averages to approximately 738 orders per year during the first few years of the program.
According to the National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH), 2.3% of Americans have either bipolar or schizophrenia. The 2000 census figure of New York's population is 18,976,457. Therefore, there are 436,459 people with either of those illnesses in New York. That means that only 738 of 436,459 people (less than 1/4 of 1 percent) per year have been placed under an initial court order.
These percentages are not for how many people are under Kendra's Law orders at a given time, but for orders initiated during a calendar year. As initial orders are for 6 months and many will not be renewed, the number of people under an order at any given time should be less - perhaps significantly less.
It is likely that this average of those affected by Kendra's Law is somewhat lower that it will be in future years, because the program was very slow to develop. However, this remains a very small percentage of the population with severe mental illnesses - the small number of people who really need AOT.

MYTH  Every investigation will result in a court order.
REALITY  There have been 7,360 investigations initiated for eligibility since the law took effect on Nov. 8, 1999 (463 of those were ongoing as of Sept. 3, 2002). These have resulted in 2,216 court orders. That means that in about one in three instigated investigations, the person ends up under an order. Why?
Almost half of completed investigations end with a determination that no action is needed. Of the 7,360 investigations, in 3,282 of them it was determined no further action was necessary.
Of those that result in action, about 30% are service enhancements only. 1,403 of the 4,572 investigations that were acted upon resulted in "services enhancements." This category is somewhat murky because in some counties these upgraded services include written treatment contracts (which are unenforceable, but may offer some incentive) and in others they do not. Nonetheless, all of these people are being helped to at least some extent by the law.

MYTH  Kendra's Law will put anyone with a history of serious mental illness at risk for commitment.
REALITY  The law has strict eligibility criteria and numerous consumer protections. A patient may be placed in assisted outpatient treatment only if, after a hearing, the court finds that ALL of the following criteria have been met. The consumer must:

  • be eighteen years of age or older; and
  • suffer from a mental illness; and
  • be unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision, based on a clinical determination; and
  • have a history of non-compliance with treatment that has:
  1. been a significant factor in his or her being in a hospital, prison or jail at least twice within the last thirty-six months or;
  2. resulted in one or more acts, attempts or threats of serious violent behavior toward self or others within the last forty-eight months; and
  • be unlikely to voluntarily participate in treatment; and
  • be, in view of his or her treatment history and current behavior, in need of assisted outpatient treatment in order to prevent a relapse or deterioration which would be likely to result in:
  1. a substantial risk of physical harm to the consumer as manifested by threats of or attempts at suicide or serious bodily harm or conduct demonstrating that the consumer is dangerous to himself or herself, or
  2. a substantial risk of physical harm to other persons as manifested by homicidal or other violent behavior by which others are placed in reasonable fear of serious physical harm; and
  • be likely to benefit from assisted outpatient treatment; and
  • if the consumer has a health care proxy, any directions in it will be taken into account by the court in determining the written treatment plan. However, nothing precludes a person with a health care proxy from being eligible for assisted outpatient treatment.


MYTH  Assisted outpatient treatment does not work.
REALITY  Based on preliminary findings (2) for the first 141 people in assisted outpatient treatment under Kendra's Law as of January 2001, those in the program have experienced a:
  • 129% increase in medication compliance;
  • 194% increase in case management use;
  • 107% increase in housing services use;
  • 67% increase in medication management services use;
  • 50% increase in therapy use;
  • 26% decrease in harmful behavior; and
  • 100% decrease in homelessness.
Studies in North Carolina, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Hawaii, Arizona and other states also prove that assisted outpatient treatment works. Of the twelve studies to date, ten showed benefits that include reduced hospital stays, violence and arrests, and improved chances of recovery for people with severe mental illnesses. The most recent study from North Carolina, recognized as the best and most comprehensive of all the studies, demonstrated the following:
  • Long-term assisted outpatient treatment (LT-AOT) reduced hospital admissions by 57% and length of hospital stay by 20 days compared to individuals without court ordered treatment. The results were even more dramatic for individuals with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders for whom LT-AOT reduced hospital admissions by 72% and length of hospital stay by 28 days compared to individuals without court ordered treatment.
  • A 36% reduction in violence among severely mentally ill individuals in LT-AOT (180 days or more) compared to individuals receiving less than LT-AOT (0 to 179 days). Among a group of individuals characterized as seriously violent (i.e. committed violent acts within the 4 month period prior to the study), 63.3% of those not in LT-AOT repeated violent acts while only 37.5% of those in LT-AOT did so. LT-AOT combined with routine outpatient services reduced the predicted probability of violence by 50%.
  • Another significant finding of the North Carolina study was that for individuals who had a history of multiple hospital admissions combined with arrest and/or violence in the prior year, LT-AOT reduced the risk of arrest by 74%. The predicted risk of being arrested for individuals with LT-AOT was 12%, compared to 47% for those who had no AOT.
MYTH  Andrew Goldstein, the man who pushed Kendra Webdale to her death, had repeatedly sought out treatment but could not get it.
REALITY  In 1998 alone, the State of New York and the federal government expended $95,075 for Andrew Goldstein's mental health and residential care. The New York State Commission on Quality of Care for the Mentally Disabled and the Mental Hygiene Review Board investigated and issued a report on the history of services and treatment for Andrew Goldstein (pseudonym David Dix).
The Commission reported that in the two years prior to pushing Kendra Webdale to her death in front of a New York City subway train, Goldstein received 199 days of inpatient and emergency room services, on 15 different occasions, in six different hospitals from1997 to 1999. Four different clinics provided outpatient services in this time period.
This is hardly the profile of a patient who was refused services. In fact, it was Goldstein who often refused services. He consistently stopped taking his medication after discharge from a hospital unless he was closely monitored. When he wasn't taking medication, he exhibited hallucinations, delusions, and unprovoked acts of aggression. On some occasions, when his untreated symptoms deteriorated to the point where he suffered anxiety, insomnia, or other unpleasant conditions, he went to an emergency room seeking relief. Other times, he was brought to the emergency room following a violent outburst.
For a period of approximately four years, while living in supervised residential programs, Goldstein remained medication-compliant and participated in treatment. He chose to leave the program to live on his own. Shortly after leaving, he was picked up by police after he acted aggressively in a supermarket. He returned to the supervised residence but, within months, chose to leave again. Subsequently, he refused placements offered to him in supervised residences, even though it was obvious to hospital social workers and Goldstein's mother that he needed structure, support, and medication monitoring to stay well.
Instead, the two years prior to Kendra Webdale's death were characterized by repeated emergency room visits, medication noncompliance after discharge, and at least eight incidents of unprovoked violence against others. Whenever he requested services, he either changed his mind before arrangements could be made or failed to follow through. On two occasions when he was willing to accept placement in a supervised residence, the system did not respond quickly enough before he changed his mind and opted to be discharged to his apartment instead. At no point during this time did he appear to take his medication regularly.
There is no question that the system failed Andrew Goldstein and consequently Kendra Webdale. Since New York State had no assisted treatment law at that time, there was little that could be done for someone like Mr. Goldstein who failed to stay in treatment, opted to live independently, refused services, and was medication noncomplaint. That is, until Kendra's Law was passed.

SOURCES

(1) For a full review of case law, see Fred Cohen's article in Correctional Mental Health Report, "Assisted Outpatient Treatment: Review of New York Case Law - And Beyond."
(2) New York State Office of Mental Health web site; statewide AOT report as of June 1, 2001 (viewed June 19, 2001). New York State Office of Mental Health, Progress Report on new York State's Mental Health System (Jan. 2001), pp. 16-18.

The T.E.A.M. effect

A remark made at the recent TN State Nami convention that "AOT would not work in this fiscal environment" was apparently interpreted by a few folks as NAMI TN being opposed to AOT and taking a stand against it.  This is simply not true.  

I look forward to participating on the next Nami policy committee meeting and working toward finding a solution to this issue because ... Together Everyone Accomplishes More!

Karen

Kudos to Nami San Antonio

Kudos to NAMI San Antonio - a great example of working together for the good of those with severe and persistent mental illnesses. 
http://www.nami-sat.org/newsletters/June_2010_Newsletter.pdf

NAMI Statement on Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC) Hospital Report

http://www.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=press_room&template=%2FContentManagement%2FContentDisplay.cfm&ContentID=59332

Saturday, September 18, 2010

TN's Mental Health Infrastructure - where did it go?

While looking for answers as to ‘whatever became of Tennessee’s mental health infrastructure’, I came across this and found it interesting that other groups are asking the same question:

http://ucpmidtn.wordpress.com/2009/06/30/gap-in-state-infrastructure-impacts-developmentally-disabled/

Yet few Tennesseans realize there is a group of severely disabled people, many of them children, who were aren’t even on the radar screen in our state. In effect, these families are told they are second class citizens with second class disabilities, not even worthy of a home in state government.
-- United Cerebral Palsy of Middle Tennessee

Unfortunately, those with severe and persistent mental illnesses also seem to have fallen off the radar screen. 

If we are indeed triaging populations to be served, should not the sickest of the sick be first in line for treatment?

Mental Health Kills the Mentally Ill

Try this test. Google mental illness and Google mental health. Look how many results are returned.

Hardly anyone is still fighting for the mentally ill. In fact, it is no longer even considered politically correct to use the term "mental illness". One must say "mental health". You are not allowed to say "patients", you are supposed to say "consumers" as in "consumers of mental health services."

Read more by DJ Jaffe on his Huffington Post blog:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dj-jaffe/mental-health-kills-the-m_b_426672.html

Friday, September 17, 2010

Lifestyle for Severe Mental Illness – It Matters

The death rate among people with serious mental illness constitutes “a public health crises,” with individuals who have severe illness dying on average 25 years younger than those in the general population. This is largely due to preventable medical conditions such as heart disease and diabetes.

Healthy lifestyle choices that matter for everyone are crucial for this at-risk population, according to a report published in August by Psychiatric Services, a journal of the American Psychiatric Association.

Lifestyle Interventions for Adults With Serious Mental Illness: A Systematic Literature Review ” looks at 23 articles written in English and published in peer-reviewed journals between 1980 and 2009. After the review, the authors conclude,“Lifestyle interventions adapted to persons with serious mental illness show promise in reducing weight loss and some risk factors for metabolic syndrome.”

Exercise, dietary counseling and health promotion through education and training were the interventions most cited in studies.

Source:  http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/

Australia is on to something!

What is Mental Health First Aid?

First aid is the help given to an injured person before medical treatment can be obtained. Mental Health First Aid is the help provided to a person developing a mental health problem or in a mental health crisis. The first aid is given until appropriate professional treatment is received or until the crisis resolves.  ttp://www.mhfa.com.au/

Monday, September 13, 2010

Coercion? Or not?

This weekend I came across a mental health consumer blog that repeatedly mentioned the word "coercion" in response to assisted outpatient treatment.

I would like to ask ... how can the proposed solution of AOT:

"To provide treatment to those who need it most. Assisted outpatient treatment is a critical step for people who are too sick to help themselves. Assisted outpatient treatment has proven to decrease homelessness, hospitalizations, violence, and arrests. Continuing and expanding assisted out patient treatment will reduce the need for hospitalization and maintain people's ability to live in the community.  Providing timely and effective treatment to people with severe mental illness is something the U.S. can and must do. Failing to do so brings a huge a cost in human lives and in vital budget resources. The failure to treat severe mental illnesses increases the risk of suicide, adds greatly to homelessness, drives up hospital costs, increases jail and incarceration rates, and puts too many at risk of violence and homicide. "  Source: TAC

be construed as this:

"Intimidation of a victim to compel the individual to do some act against his or her will by the use of psychological pressure, physical force, or threats. The crime of intentionally and unlawfully restraining another's freedom by threatening to commit a crime, accusing the victim of a crime, disclosing any secret that would seriously impair the victim's reputation in the community, or by performing or refusing to perform an official action lawfully requested by the victim, or by causing an official to do so."  Source: The Legal Dictionary

So are the folks who say AOT is coercion advocating for a person's right to remain psychotic?  Isn't this cruel and inhumane within itself?

What about a person's right to treatment while in the grips of an untreated brain disorder that affects their judgment, actions and behavior? 

Is it considered coercion when we provide treatment for Alzheimer's or autistic patients who may resist it? 

Or folks with other brain disorders? 

Then why are untreated bipolar and schizophrenia, who are in obvious crises, any different?

Comments, please?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mental Illness Awareness Week October 3-9, 2010

http://www.nami.org/template.cfm?section=mental_illness_awareness_week

The National Sheriff's Association supports mission of the Treatment Advocacy Center

The National Sheriffs Association endorses Kendra's Law because it carefully, intentionally and successfully balances the liberty and best interests of the mentally ill with legitimate safety concerns of the public. 

Link:  http://www.sheriffs.org/userfiles/File/Resolutions/2009-1_FINAL.pdf

The mission of TAC is to eliminate barriers to treatment for Americans who suffer from, but are not being treated for, severe mental illness.

"I've been to Lansing, Mich., to Newark, N.J., and I've been to anosognosia—and I have no desire to return to any of them," he said of the year when his illness was at its worst. "At my most psychotic was when I was most sure I wasn't sick."

A quote by Jonathan Stanley, my friend and initial contact with the Treatment Advocacy Center.  This man's personal journey is an inspiration.  At this year's NAMI national convention and a standing-room-only session about anosognosia, AOT, and advanced directives, he drew upon his 10 years of experience as a lawyer and advocate as well as his own journey with bipolar disorder. 

Read about it here on NAMI's blog ... http://blog.nami.org/2010/07/press-charges-or-press-for-change.html

Here's a Wall Street Journal column explaining the impact of anosognosia (lack of insight) and looking at how families can cross the bridge from needing help for a loved one to getting it

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703946504575470040863778372.html?mod=wsj_share_facebook

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Tennessee gets a D ...

Election 2010: The Nation's Mental Health Crisis; Are Candidates Addressing the Facts? Check Out Their State Grades: 21 Ds and 6 Fs ... http://news.yahoo.com/s/usnw/20100907/pl_usnw/DC59801

Sunday, September 5, 2010

K-Town Youth Empowerment Program - catching seriously mentally ill youth in transition to young adulthood BEFORE they fall through the cracks

K-Town serves transitional youth and their families who are affected with serious emotional disturbance and mental illness in Knox County.  Click here to read more about them ...http://www.tnvoices.org/index.php?q=en/KTown

College students exhibiting more severe mental illness, study finds

ScienceDaily (2010-08-13) -- Severe mental illness is more common among college students than it was a decade ago, with more young people arriving on campus with pre-existing conditions and a willingness to seek help for emotional distress, according to a new study. The data support what college mental health professionals have noted for some time. ... > read full article

If you don't already know about NARSAD, I urge you to click on this link to check out their website.

NARSAD, The World's Leading Charity Dedicated to Mental Health Research is a private, not-for-profit public charity 501(c)(3) organized for the purpose of raising and distributing funds for scientific research into the causes, cures, treatments and prevention of severe psychiatric brain disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and bipolar disorders.

In addition to funding research about schizophrenia and depression, NARSAD funds psychiatric brain research in many areas, such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, and anxiety disorders.

NARSAD does not seek or receive government funding.
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Saturday, September 4, 2010

40% of schizophrenic patients receive NO followup


Multiple studies have shown that individuals with severe psychiatric disorders who are not being treated are much more likely to end up homeless, incarcerated, victimized or otherwise in trouble. A new study illustrates once again the magnitude of this problem.

Dr. Mark Olfson and his associates at Columbia University used 2003 Medicaid data to study 49,239 individuals with schizophrenia, ages 20 to 63, who were discharged from a hospital for this illness. Within one week, 42 percent had had a follow-up outpatient visit. At the end of 30 days, 59 percent had had a follow-up visit, but 41 percent still had not.

These are the individuals who are then lost to treatment and who end up homeless, in jail - or worse. News reports indicate that James Jay Lee - the man who took three hostages this week in the Discovery Channel's Maryland headquarters and who was shot and killed by police - suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Lee reportedly had been ordered to treatment after a previous arrest but did not follow through.

Not surprisingly, the Columbia University study showed that those in the untreated group were also less likely to have received treatment in the three months preceding their hospitalization. This failure to provide follow-up care is another measure of our failed psychiatric treatment system.

The article was published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry (Olfson M, Marcus SC, Doshi JA. Continuity of care after inpatient discharge of patients with schizophrenia in the Medicaid program: a retrospective longitudinal cohort analysis, 2010;71:831–383).
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Preventable Tragedy #2 - The Inskip School Shooting

February 10, 2010 KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — An elementary school teacher is accused of shooting and wounding the principal and assistant principal at his school Wednesday about an hour after the children were dismissed because of snow.Police charged Mark Stephen Foster, 48, of Clinton, with two counts of attempted first-degree murder after the shooting at Inskip Elementary School. The school Web site identifies Foster as a fourth-grade teacher. A former boss of Foster's said the suspect was taken into custody in the 1990s with weapons near their office after making threatening comments about him to family members.

The suspect's brother, Anthony Foster, said his brother lives about a mile away but the two haven't talked in four years because of "family problems." Anthony Foster declined to describe why he and his brother were estranged. But the Knoxville News Sentinel reported that Anthony Foster tried to get a protective order against his brother last year, writing in the petition that Mark Foster had threatened his family.

A court dismissed the petition in May.

"I am very afraid of what he might do to me or my family. He suffers from mental illness and has been treated for it for several year," the petition says. "I have had to call the sheriff's department several times in the past and he seems to be getting worse."

Foster's family was contacted by authorities Wednesday to make sure they were safe after the violence at the school, Anthony Foster said.

Anthony Foster said his brother once had been a machinist at Oak Ridge Tool Engineering and got into a dispute with CEO Terry Mullins, declining to elaborate.

Mullins said in a telephone interview Wednesday that police captured an armed Mark Foster a mile away from their office in the 1990s after his mother warned police about the threatening statements. Mullins said police told him that Foster intended to harm him.

Source: The Huffington Post

So ... would AOT have enabled Mark Foster's brother, mother or former employer to petition a judge for treatment for him before it was too late?

We will never know.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Preventable Tragedy #1 - The Hooter's Shooting

Over the next few days, I'll be posting several reasons why, in my opinion, Tennessee cannot afford NOT to enact an AOT law.

Preventable Tragedy #1. The Hooters' shooting - December 30, 2007

A man suspected of killing a customer and wounding a manager at a Hooters restaurant was shot and killed by police a day later, authorities said Monday. David Michael Rudd, 25, was shot several times on Sunday night in a parking lot behind another restaurant after he repeatedly refused to put down two guns he was holding, police spokesman Darrell DeBusk said. No officers were injured. Rudd fired shots from a .40-caliber handgun into a Hooters restaurant Saturday morning after a dispute with a cashier over his bar tab, Lt. Kenny Miller said Sunday.

Rudd had been plagued by mental illness since he was a teenager, his uncle Robert Rudd told The Knoxville News Sentinel.

David Rudd had been in and out of jails and mental health facilities over the last decade, his uncle said. He would be released once medication controlled his delusions, but he would stop taking the drugs once he got out, said Robert Rudd, 62, of Ft. Myers, Fla.

"It's a terrible disease," Rudd said. "If he had cancer, he would have gotten help. But the system failed him."

Want to hear something even more tragic? This shooting occurred less than 6 months after the first proposed Kendra's Law for TN was placed into a Senate study committee where it died a quiet, unnoticeable death. Could it's passing have aided the Rudd family in getting help for their son? We will never know.

Drama in Silver Spring – Another One of “Ours” Dies

Mental Illness Policy Forces Police to Shoot Mentally Ill James Jay Lee at Discovery Channel

Original post by DJ Jaffe @ the Huffington Post.