Argument for the 5150 Involuntary Treatment Laws
After those incidents, Assemblywoman Helen Thompson pushed California to pass "Laura's Law" (AB1421), a law that would permit a judge to order intensive outpatient treatment for people who do not realize the severity of their mental illness. Laura's Law, which was passed by Governor Gray Davis and was effective from January of 2003, allowed court-ordered, intensive outpatient treatment for people with severe mental illnesses.
Anti-treatment advocates insist that involuntary treatment should be limited to cases of severe physical danger--instances in which patients are going to inflict bodily harm to themselves or to others. The idea of danger to self (a psychotic break or loss of control, leading to violence) comes too late during a mental illness and happens too suddenly. The anti-treatment advocates believe that people with mental illnesses should be allowed to exercise their freewill by being able to live their lives however they please. To interfere (with involuntary treatment) is to deny them their civil liberties. These advocates seem content with the loss of several lives of mental patients to uphold their argument. The view that civil liberties do not apply to people with deteriorating health because of their mental illnesses seems to surpass them (Consumer/Survivor). In the Consumer/Survivor advocate website, Health Minister Elizabeth Cull appears to have fallen victim to anti-involuntary treatment advocacy and has talked about balancing the need for treatment and civil liberties, as if they were complete opposites. These advocates seem to not know the effects of mental illnesses and how it can be dangerous to those who have it.
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