Image that reads: "If not now when?"

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!

Link to Governor’s Letter

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).

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.

Governor Vetoes SB16-169

Amanda Kearney-Smith

I founded the Network as the Executive Director in 2011 and, before that, I was a program director at Mental Health Colorado. My educational background is in Developmental Psychology, but living with bipolar disorder has drawn me to this work. I'm most passionate about protecting the civil rights and dignity of others. In my free time, I love reading, practicing yoga, and spending time with my family here and in Illinois.

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