By Amanda Kearney-Smith, CMWN Executive Director
Did you read our blog post “Colorado Wants to Jail You for Being Sick” by our volunteer Kate Fitch? If you aren’t familiar with SB16-169 then you’ll want to read that blog post and get up-to-speed.
Last week Governor Hickenlooper vetoed this bill that on the surface appears to expand mental health services. It would be a temporary fix to a much greater problem that needs resolution, not a band-aid. People are currently being put in jail because hospitals in rural communities won’t treat people in a mental health crisis. Thats right.. JAIL!
While we agree that a “task force” isn’t always a great solution we commend Governor Hickenlooper for vetoing a bill that would make it easier for jails to hold people who have not committed a crime (the bill allows people to be held longer). It’s time for a solution, it’s time for people’s civil rights to be upheld, its time to start transforming our healthcare system!
When will the provider groups, legislators, insurance companies start listening to their consumers? Why aren’t we being asked what we want? Why are decisions always being made on our behalf?
The same situation is currently playing out nationally with the “Murphy Bill” – here’s a recent article providing the viewpoint of mental health advocates – Val Marsh, Director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR). http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/advocates-reject-revised-murphy-bill-as-still-harmful-to-individuals-with-mental-health-conditions-300283048.html?tc=eml_cleartime
In an email to fellow advocacy groups Val commented that “This is the true crux of the problem we face with mental health care in the United States. It is not a problem of “undeserved” rights; it is a problem of inadequate resources that are poorly allocated. It is only illogical and inhumane, but is also a very poor investment of public dollars.” We agree wholeheartedly.