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May 20, 2005
Treatment Advocacy Center Award
Read more... Schizophrenia Advocacy
from a press release from the Treatment Advocacy Center:
FLORIDIANS HONORED WITH NATIONAL MENTAL ILLNESS ADVOCACY AWARD
Mutual tragedy spurs successful reform of Florida law for people with severe mental illnesses
Eslinger, Gregory, and Petree won this year's national Torrey Advocacy Commendation for their successful advocacy for a new mental illness treatment law in Florida. The TAC award recognizes the courage and tenacity of those who selflessly advocate - despite criticism and opposition - for the right to treatment for those who are so severely disabled by severe mental illnesses that they do not recognize that they need treatment.
The board of directors of the Treatment Advocacy Center voted unanimously to recognize all three Florida advocates in an unusual move that paralleled an unusual advocacy partnership. "We are impressed by their heart-felt efforts over more than four years to get a more humane treatment law for Floridians with severe mental illnesses,said TAC board secretary Dr. Fred Frese. "We commend Sheriff Eslinger, Linda Gregory, and Alice Petree for their incredible dedication and effectiveness in spearheading a complex and critical reform of Florida's outdated treatment law."
The Florida House of Representatives cited the TAC award in a resolution sponsored by Rep. David Simmons and Rep. Sandra Adams that recognizes these three advocates for "their successful advocacy in honor of Deputy Sheriff Gene Gregory and Alan Singletary and all people with severe mental illnesses who will benefit from their efforts."
The result of their work is Florida's new law, which took effect January 1, 2005, that allows assisted (court-ordered) outpatient treatment for people with severe mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, who have a history of noncompliance combined with either repeated Baker Act admissions or serious violence. Court-ordered outpatient treatment is a less restrictive, less expensive alternative for those who need intervention but do not require inpatient hospitalization.
New statistics from New York, a state with a similar law, show that for those in the program, 74% fewer experienced homelessness, 77%fewer experienced psychiatric hospitalization, 83% fewer experienced arrest, and 87% fewer experienced incarceration. Individuals enrolled were also more likely to regularly participate in services and take prescribed medication.
On July 8, 1998, Deputy Sheriff Gene Gregory and Alan Singletary, a man with a history of severe mental illness, died in a 13-hour standoff.
Seminole County Sheriff Eslinger vowed to not let their deaths be in
With the leadership of the Florida Sheriffs' Association, the efforts of hese advocates and the community network they helped to create resulted not only in reforming the Baker Act to allow for assisted outpatient treatment, but also in other beneficial programs for those with mental illnesses such as jail diversion, forensic treatment programs, mental health screening at a county correctional facility, funding for a detox receiving facility, a voluntary identification program, and law enforcement crisis intervention teams.
About the award. The Torrey Advocacy Commendation is presented
The Treatment Advocacy Center (www.psychlaws.org) is a nonprofit
Posted by szadmin at May 20, 2005 01:49 AM
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