acitivist, advocacy, Advocate, bill, congress, family, government, helping families in mental health crisis act, hospitals, involuntary treatment, law, mental health, mental illness, mentally ill, parents
Family members and people who are advocates for the legal rights of the mentally ill are not always on the same team, and I am not always on the same team as either one of them.
I have to admit, that I often do not see eye to eye with family members and the laws they want to get passed. I don’t agree with number 4 (in the first article) which would give caregivers and parents access to more information regarding the person in treatment.
For me, when I see a new doctor, I always sign a waiver allowing my husband access to all information regarding me. I want my doctor to feel free to talk to my husband about all aspects of my care in an emergency. I don’t, however, want anyone else to have that right. The only person I want to be able to make decisions about my mental health treatment is my husband. I do not want a treatment facility to release any information about my care to anyone else under any circumstances. If my husband is unable to make decisions along with my doctor, I would rather make these decisions on my own with my doctor even if I am not well.
I may not agree with all the issues of legal advocates either. For example, I recently did an interview with a feminist magazine and I mentioned that the law, as it currently stands in some states, about involuntary treatment should be changed to a lengthier amount of time. I think if someone is admitted involuntarily because they pose a risk to themselves or others that a hospital should be able to hold them longer than seventy-two hours. My reasoning behind this is that it often takes longer than seventy-two hours for psych medications to start working. I think someone at risk should be held a minimum of one week (I think a little longer would be better, but the extra four days may prove to save some lives). This probably isn’t a popular position to the legal advocates of the mentally ill, but it makes perfect sense to me, someone who knows the difference a few days can make in terms of psychosis and stability.
Most other details of the law (spelled out clearly here), I am in support of with the exception of what I mentioned in my first paragraph and number 6 which limits the powers of national advocacy programs. The example they use for the provision of this change in policy is an advocate that told a mentally ill man what he needed to say to be released from care. He was released from care, and then murdered his mother. I think the person who counseled that man was unethical and negligent, but I don’t think all national advocacy programs interactions with the mentally ill should be changed because of one case.
Please feel free to comment/debate in the comment section. I am definitely open to hearing your opinions.