Program Compelling Outpatient Treatment for Mental Illness Is Working, Study Says

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For some people with severe mental illness, life is a cycle of hospitalization, skipped medication, decline and then rehospitalization. They may deny they have psychiatric disorders, refuse treatment and cascade into out-of-control behavior that can be threatening to themselves or others.

….Ms. Biasotti’s daughter became ill at 23. Now 41, she has been hospitalized more than 20 times, Ms. Biasotti said.

“She would make threats to other people, threatening to get a gun, shoot people, threatening to shoot herself,” said Ms. Biasotti, a school psychologist who met Mr. Biasotti, police chief in New Windsor, N.Y., when her daughter kept landing at the police station. “She couldn’t stand hearing the voices. She drove into a couple of telephone poles. She ran in front of a tractor-trailer truck on a fairly busy two-lane highway. She was self-medicating with street drugs. She’s cut her wrists. She would go after people in the street. It was really, really bad.”

Before the Biasottis succeeded in getting her a court order under Kendra’s Law in 2002, she would be hospitalized, discharged, “take medication for a few days and then decide, ‘What do I need this for,’ and then go off it and spiral down again,” her mother said.

by Pam Belluck, New York Times

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