Posts Tagged: Sigrid Bathen
Nick and Amanda Wilcox of Penn Valley with a portrait of their daughter Laura, whose murder inspired "Laura's Law." (Photo, Laura Mahaffy, The Union)
In a significant policy shift spanning nearly two decades, 30 counties in California – including all of the larger counties with an estimated 80 percent of the state’s population – have now adopted a 2002 state law giving families a legal avenue to get severely mentally ill relatives into treatment.
Dear Editor: I want to commend reporter Sigrid Bathen for her thorough and excellent reporting on an issue important to so many people: providing mental health care for our loved ones. Ms. Bathen’s two-part series shined a critical light on some counties’ resistance to adopting Laura’s Law to enhance outpatient services to those with severe mental health issues.
Judge Stephen V. Manley on the bench in Santa Clara County. (Photo: Veteransvoices.net)
Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Stephen Manley refers to defendants in his courtroom as “clients” – an indication of the unusually informal and conversational tenor of the Behavioral Health Court he created more than two decades ago. “It tends to break through a barrier,” Manley said.
A suspect in custody, handcuffed by police. (Photo: Boyfare, via Shutterstock)
Police response to mental-health calls often ends – again and again – in chaotic, noisy hospital emergency rooms, where staff is stretched thin, and a heart attack is likely to take precedence over someone in the throes of a mental-health crisis. “Traditionally, people would be dropped off at the ER, and the only option was to transfer them to a psychiatric facility,” says Dr. Scott Zeller, a nationally known emergency psychiatrist and former president of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry.
Illustration of a person suffering from mental illness. (Image: GrAl, via Shutterstock)
The modern history of mental-health care in California begins more than half a century ago with passage of the landmark 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, an ambitious — but ultimately disastrous — overhaul of a draconian “system” of hoary old mental hospitals throughout California. Most of the hospitals were closed, but the “community care” that was to take their place never materialized.