State Sen. Samra Brouk and advocate Harvey Rosenthal recently applauded the pending New York budget for many of its included mental health initiatives. They’re right to do so, especially for the investments in psychiatric inpatient capacity. But Brouk and Rosenthal falsely suggest the state’s important Assisted Outpatient Treatment law has resulted in “glaring disparate racial impacts” for having more Black and Hispanic participants. Their criticism is not only wrong, but at odds with their call for less discrimination and adequate access to services. In reality, the law fights discrimination by providing access to services.
Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), which in New York is enabled under Kendra’s Law, is a form of intensive services and treatment (therapy, medication or both) that a highly specific population of individuals with serious mental illnesses, like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, are able to access through civil court.
Carolyn Gorman is a policy analyst and former board member of Mental Illness Policy Org.
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