Mental Health Advocate vs Mental Illness Advocate : You Decide



I really dunno how to think about this, do you have any thoughts?


As it is an American orientated article it’s hard for me to go beyond generalisations. However I do agree that the primary focus should be on the seriously/severe mentally ill and that people pushing ‘recovery’ for all are not being realistic or necessarily helpful.


Wow, that was a pretty powerful speech. I live in NY and had no idea that they were trying to take away Kendra’s law. Without being knowledgeable about it peer support seems like a good idea and cheaper alternative to outpatient services because it gets the person back into the community. The author brought up a lot of really great points.


[1] Expanding involuntary treatment; [2] broadening the criteria under which an individual can be involuntarily held; [3] holding patients for longer periods of time; [4] liberal use of restraints and drugs.

He bills himself as a maverick but his message is pretty familiar. He comes off as trying to save us, but in reality his proposal is one of dehumanization.


Is it better to be free and untreated to the point of being highly symptomatic ? Living on the streets- dirty and poorly clothed , at risk especially if you are female, fighting off the cats to get your next morsel of food from a trash can…
Is that the humane way?


Crazy and living on the streets or sane and living on the streets — I doubt it makes any difference to her. Providing community housing for the mentally ill — that is something I could get on board with, but his proposals are designed to expand involuntary hospitalizations and unwanted treatments.


What kind of advocate is this guy, anyway?

Lawyer: “Your honor, my client is dangerous and needs to be locked up.”

Client: “Whose side are you on, anyway?!”


Back to divide and conquer.

What about supporting both with equal challenge.

Besides that, isn’t it supposed to be Mental Health Advocate vs Mentally Ill Advocate

I don’t think it would be a good idea to advocate mental illness.


i agree with you on the housing issue-but pretty much of what he is saying is truth.
yes-we need housing
yes-we need good hospitals for treatment
yes-we should be able to have someone committed if they cannot or will not because theyre not thinking clearly. However, we need to approach the WAY they are committed differently. There is always a way to do this better. No-restraints should not be used EVER! I dont have an answer for that—maybe a shot in the butt??
Yes-mentally ill people can become violent. The problem is that the media plays it up and there is still a stigma that has to be erased so that even bringing up the truth will not be scared away.
Guns? No one should have one in my opinion.
Housing has always been a big concern of mine. I wish I knew what could be done. I mean housing that`s on a sliding scale pay basis, not in an area where drugs and bad people without MI are hanging out, etc…**



It was on the local NY/CT news last night about getting mental health services into the school systems to educate kids about mental health for prevention and to try to get to kids at most risk for getting ill sooner. But you can’t prevent things like sz and bp or even adhd, you can prevent alcoholism and drug abuse. And you are more likely to spend your time and dollars on children with domestic abuse issues and bullying issues (trauma) rather than severe mental illness which is likely later to come in life, like say during the college years. After reading this and several other articles I’m having mixed feelings on this issue.

Here’s more on Kendra’s Law:

Kendra’s Law (New York Mental Hygiene Law § 9.60) allows courts to order certain individuals with serious mental illness and a history of Violence or multiple rehospitalizations (that is associated with not staying in treatment) to stay in treatment while living in the community. Perhaps more importantly, it allows courts to order the mental health system to provide the treatment. This court-ordered treatment is called assisted outpatient treatment (AOT).

Kendra’s Law focuses on a very small population. There is a small group of mentally ill individuals who are the most seriously ill. There is a small subset of the most seriously ill who are often homeless and psychotic. Many are so ill, they don’t know they are ill (anosognosia). And there is a small subset of that group who go off treatment that can prevent needless hospitalizations and/or dangerous behavior. This is the group courts can order to accept treatment. To be eligible a hearing is held where the patient has a lawyer. The court must find the individual is mentally ill and:

  1. unlikely to survive safely in the community without supervision; and
  2. has a history of non-compliance with treatment that has: i. 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; ii.
    resulted in one or more acts, attempts or threats of serious violent behavior toward self or others within the last forty-eight months; and
  3. be unlikely to voluntarily participate in treatment; and
  4. 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:
    i. 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 ii. 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.

Legislative history
AOT was proposed in 1989, by families of people with serious mental illness who wanted better
treatment for their relatives. In 1994, NYS started a pilot program at Bellevue Hospital in NYC. In August 1999, when Kendra Webdale was pushed to her death in front of a subway by someone with untreated mental illness, the public recognized that AOT not only improved care for people with mental illness, it could also increase public safety. As a result, NYS enacted "Kendra’s Law. The law was renewed in 2005 and 2010. It sunsets in 2015 unless renewed or made permanent. Cracks in Kendra’s Law have been identified that need closing.

A 2010 Columbia University study found that individuals under Kendra’s Law orders, despite greater histories of violence, were four times less likely to engage in future violence than those in a control group. Other studies show Kendra’s Law reduces homelessness (74%); suicide attempts (55%); and substance abuse (48%). It keeps the public safer by reducing physical harm to others (47%) and property destruction (43%). It saves money by reducing hospitalization (77%); arrests (83%); and incarceration (87%). Other studies show Kendra’s Law causes no increase in perceived stigma or coercion, and that the court orders themselves (not just the availability of
high-quality services) are instrumental in the program’s success.



Back to the Kendra’s law, its kind of stupid. If someone has anosognosia and is forced into AOT, then what are they going to get out of it? It like forcing an alcoholic or drug addict to go to rehab? As soon as they are out they go right back to using drugs. Pete Earley had some good points.


Blind Ostracism, but I can see his point of view. Triage already takes place in controlled environments anyway.


An honest look at the mental health system — refreshing.


NEVER trust the TAC to be looking out for the best interests of those with this illness. Their track record speaks for itself.


@Malvok I know TAC splits opinions but why specifically do you dislike them ?


Torrey takes pride in the fact that he’s lied to judges to have people committed. TAC also used to, on its website, advise family members to turn over the furniture before calling police to have a loved one committed because the police would be more likely to do it if there were signs of violence in the house. Then there is the almost constant fearmongering about the dangers of unmedicated schizophrenics.

When you take pride in your dishonesty and practice it every chance you get, how can anyone trust a thing you say?