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“Most psychiatric drugs can cause withdrawal reactions, sometimes including life-threatening emotional and physical withdrawal problems… Withdrawal from psychiatric drugs should be done carefully under experienced clinical supervision.” Dr. Peter Breggin

Oct 10, 2010

NAMI WA Legislative Priorities and my Thoughts Washington 2011  Legislative Proposals

 The following is what was posted on the NW Seeds of Recovery site by Stephanie Lane:

Once again it is time to solicit inputs from NAMI-WA affiliates concerning our 2011 legislative initiatives.  As in the past, we are providing you with an updated list of prospective legislative agenda items for your review and prioritization.  The list consists mainly of carryover items that have been included in past agendas but either did not survive the legislative process or were not sufficiently high on our priority list to warrant major lobbying efforts.  Please feel free to propose additional items for consideration.  If you do offer additional items, please assign priority numbers to them.  During the 2010 session, we were reasonably successful in our lobbying activities with two of our top three items being enacted into law.  It is very important that we receive your inputs on these important initiatives.  We are asking that affiliates:  
·        Review the eleven items on the list and rank them in priority order.  (i.e. “1” would be your top priority and “11” would be your lowest priority among those listed).
·        Add additional items that you would like to propose and give them a priority ranking.
·        Send your prioritized list to Gordon Bopp, Chair: Public Policy Committee no later than October 22nd.
·        Add any additional comments and/or suggestions that you feel the PPC should consider.
Here is the list of legislative initiatives for consideration for 2011: 

1.  Restore Cuts in Mental Health Funding.  Any reduction in mental health services that result from budget cuts inevitably leads to increased use of hospital emergency rooms, more frequent incarceration and more homelessness – all of which cost more in the long run than does early intervention and outpatient treatment.   NAMI recommends that there be no cuts in existing mental health services and that the Legislature increase the State-only appropriations for individuals and families not covered under current Medicaid criteria.
  1. Waiver of Restitution Payments for Individuals Living on Disability Income.  People who are disabled due to physical or mental health conditions are simply
    not able to make restitution payments that are often assessed by the court
      It typically costs more trying to collect on these assessments than is received in restitution payments.  It is simply illogical and unfair to expect people on disability who are unable to work to make any kind of financial payments to others. Some other means must be found to compensate crime victims

  1. Increase Availability of Psychiatric inpatient Facilities. Inpatient mental health evaluation and treatment are essential public health and safety functions.  There is now a critical shortage of both voluntary and involuntary treatment facilities at all levels of service
    throughout the State of Washington.
       NAMI supports legislation that will increase numbers of inpatient facilities including increasing reimbursement rates to community hospitals and stopping bed reductions at state hospitals to allow time for community programs such as the Program for Assertive Community Treatment (PACT) to mature sufficiently to assist in at least partially offsetting  those reductions.   A complete study of the entire inventory of psychiatric hospital beds in Washington State and their availabilities and interrelationships at all levels is needed.
  1. Provide Affordable Housing to Meet the Needs of the Homeless and those at Risk of Becoming Homeless.
NAMI supports maintaining the Housing Trust Fund at least at current funding levels; the Fund is    one of the state’s largest, most effective tools for creating affordable homes for very low income families and individuals with mental illnesses or other disabilities.  We support the recommendations of the state’s affordable housing and homelessness consortiums as well as local, County and State10 Year Plans to end Homelessness.

  1.  Expand and Improve Supported Employment/Skill Building Programs.  Evidence-based practices have clearly established a link between employment opportunities and successful
    recovery for individuals suffering from mental ilnesses.
    supports DSHS/HRSA/Transformation Grant efforts to increase the use of
    employment in the recovery process, including employment and skill
    development at mental health clubhouses.
  1.  Expand Mental Health Services in Rural Areas.  Comprehensive mental health services are required no matter the number of individuals or families
    needing the services or their geographic locations.
      Rural areas in Washington State
    are woefully underserved in regard to mental health needs.
      NAMI supports expansion of the existing
    pilot program serving a few selected counties in Washington State.
  1. Comprehensive System of Recovery-Based Treatment and Related Services.             Treatment and related assistance needs to be holistic and comprehensive, providing not only continuity of
    care but also support for the individual’s psychiatric and general
    physical health, employment potential, housing, social network and
      These programs need to
    work in collaboration with one another and must be recovery based.
      NAMI supports:
·        Complete funding for PACT teams in all RSN’s.
·        Expand consumer/advocate run mental health services including Clubhouses.
These kinds of programs are a vital component of any system of comprehensive, recovery-based  treatment for mental illness.

  1. Establish Certificates of Restoration of Opportunity.  (CROPP).   This would act to bar the use of criminal records to deny housing, education and employment opportunities. NAMI-WA supports and will partner in this effort.

  1. Electronic Medical Records Study.  Would provide for a single database to be shared among various agencies to promote access and continuity of care as well as
    more efficient and effective administration of legal services such as Drug
    Courts, Mental Health Courts and ITA.
  1. Court Proceedings for Mentally Ill Offenders.  Look at law and justice system as a whole to see where we can advocate for mitigation when justified on the basis of mental
      Changes in ITA legislation
    provide significant opportunities to prevent incarceration and/or provide
    for the waiver of fines and other legal financial obligations assessed by
      We need to press for the
    application of these changes in the criminal justice system in a
    consistent manner throughout the State.
     This includes educating members of the Sentencing Guidelines
  1.  Modification of ITA Language.  While significant gains were made in amending the Involuntary Treatment Act (ITA) last session, 2SSHB 3076 retained language that still makes it very difficult to implement the ITA.  In particular, the current language provides that a person must be determined by a MHP to be in “imminent” danger to self or others.  Last
    session HB 2882 was introduced that would change “imminent” to “substantial
      NAMI supported this change and we propose to support a similar bill again in the 2011 session.

My chief concern is there is not enough protection for the individuals to whom this law is applied. The protection to which I am referring are the Constitutional Rights of those whom are and will be court ordered to both inpatient and outpatient treatment. In the Mental Health Transformation it is a value that all voices be heard on an issue. Another value is Self-Determination. Mental Health Treatment paid with Federal Medicaid and Medicare $ in whole or in part, have been mandated to be client directed for well over a decade, to be billable through these programs. In spite of this  consumers are still fighting to have what has been our right, to receive client directed mental health services; that have been mandated in the contract between Washington State and the Federal Government for over a decade.

NAMI, has an agenda that is in conflict with my lived experience and it's advocacy does not extend to the people who are most harmed by the implementation of this law. In fact, denies the criticism from these survivors, is valid at all, specifically, that people are court ordered to take what are dangerous and potentially fatal, medications.   Failure to acknowledge the potentially deleterious effects of many of the medications, or the potential for early and sudden death is more than strange. I am baffled how it can be justifiable to court order a person to take substances that may lead to their sudden death, or lead to illness and disability preceded by death that is 25 to 30 years earlier than those who are do not take these drugs?

NAMI does provide many valuable services to communities across this state and the nation. I support any effort that provides support and assistance to the mentally ill, and their families and friends who are effected and need support. These services are of high value.  However, the effort to advocate for the mentally ill themselves has been altered by the pharmaceutical companies, who provided the money which has turned this "grassroots" effort into a powerful multimedia machine that develops agendas and sells them across the country. These same entities have profited enormously from using this group of individuals, who actually were a "grassroots" organization when the industry targeted them to further it's goals. The drug industry started "supporting" NAMI's efforts, and ultimately, NAMI has supported the drug industry's efforts by disseminating it's flawed research (flawed, biased and/or not validated information is propaganda) to it's members and using it to develop strategies which become agendas which become public policy and laws.

How can there not be a serious discussion on these issues given the number of Conflicts of Interest, the lack of accountability of the drug industry, lack of recognition of those who are harmed by involuntary treatment?  Where are the survivor support groups?  Where are the survivor voices in this plan?  "Nothing About Us Without Us" is more than a slogan to be posted on a website.   

Where is the public outcry and advocacy for mentally ill violent crime victims? It occurs at a much greater frequency than crimes are perpetrated by the mentally ill. Is it because it does not help the furthering of the agenda of medical control of the mentally ill?   There have been no agendas developed to address what are basically hate crimes perpetrated against vulnerable people; laws passed to protect them, or punish the criminals who target them.  

Lack of  input from those who are to benefit directly by being court ordered to take drugs, live where they are told, and have someone manage their money, is apparently not necessary.  Disagreeing with a professional can lead to further labeling and stigma. The diagnosis of anosognosia is "lack of insight," it is also what professionals determine when there is a difference in what is needed; or when a client through self-determination decides the benefits do not outweigh the risks of a proposed medication regimen.  It seems to me that the mentally ill are not the only ones to suffer from lack of insight...

1 comment:

Duane Sherry, M.S. said...

In my opinion, NAMI (especially at the national level) has done more harm than good.

In fact, much more harm than good.

NAMI lobbies each of the states for more psychiatric drugging of children, in Medicaid and foster care.... NAMI has been behind the myth of a chemical cure for "mental illness" for years, and continues to perpetuate this myth... NAMI has been behind the construction of more psychiatric "hospitals" in each of the states... Places where all bets are off with what kind of abuse a person will undergo, not the least of which is a loss of all Constitutional rights!

NAMI has done more harm then good.
NAMI continues to do more harm than good.
In fact, NAMI does MUCH MORE harm than good!

Duane Sherry, M.S.
Discover and Recover: Resources for Mental and Overall Wellness


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