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Involuntary outpatient mental health treatment in New York State, Kendra's law, may be a model for others

Bag_lady Chris Jenkins wrote a good article in yesterday's, 12/30/07, Washtington Post about involuntary outpatient mental health treatment. In New York State there is such a law known as Kendra's law and it appears to be successful. It is being looked at closely by other states such as Virginia as a model to replicate.

Susan Wezel had been committed to the city's hospital wards more than a dozen times in 10 years. Her psychosis was so deep and debilitating that she lost her career and her relationship with her son, as she refused to take her medication or follow treatment.

But because of a New York state law, Wezel hasn't been hospitalized in more than a year. She doesn't wander the streets alone at night anymore. She takes her medication willingly. She even has plans to follow her dream of singing at a neighborhood nightspot, something that was unthinkable 18 months ago.

Wezel and her caseworker agree that the transformation occurred because of the law, which allowed officials to force Wezel into an outpatient treatment program after she was discharged from a hospital.

Known as Kendra's Law, it is considered one of the most far-reaching mental health statutes in the country. It gives great latitude to doctors, social workers and relatives to take mentally ill people before a judge to force them into treatment, and it provides money for clinical services.

If you are interested in involuntary outpatient mental health treatment, the article is worth reading.

Link: N.Y. Law Raises Issues of States' Reach in Patient Care - washingtonpost.com.

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