In October we enjoyed a robust discussion at Vanguard University of Southern California on the subject of the Lanterman Petris Short Act and solutions that your community can utilize to improve the Mental Healthcare System in California.
The Lanterman-Petris-Short Act was a big mistake and we need to reevaluate what California has been doing for the last fifty years. The standard for determining who needs psychiatric care shifted from “need for care” to “harm to self or others.” People who are in need of care, are being neglected; some are even left to languish on the street or in jail.
Although the LPS Act intended to reduce abuses in the mental health system, it went too far in preventing involuntary civil commitments for the severely mentally ill. Worse, the statutory changes released people from the institutions, relegating them to the streets and often to jail – all during the vast shifts in social mores of the 1960s further complicating the treatment of mental illness.
In January of 2020, Senator John Moorlach will be revitalizing Senate Bill 640 which was held by the Senate Health Committee this year. It would broaden the definition of “gravely disabled” to include someone who “is incapable of making informed decisions about” the basic necessities of life, such as shelter, food, and clothing, without significant supervision from another person. This would be a revision of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act of 1967.
By considering SB 640 in 2020, the Legislature and Californians will have significantly more time to examine its full implications. For example, we could offset increased hospital expenses by tapping funds from the Mental Health Services Act, the 2004 initiative that taxes millionaire incomes at 1 percent to help the mentally ill.
Jeffrey A. Nagel is the Behavioral Health Director for the County of Orange. Dr. Nagel received his Ph.D. in Clinical Child Psychology from the University of North Texas and has worked in the public behavioral health system for nearly 30 years. He has a history of work in the public mental health system from direct service provision to system management.
Commander Joseph Balicki, a 33 year veteran of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, is the Area Commander for the Custody Operations Command. He is responsible for implementing the Sheriff’s jail mental health initiative. Additionally, he is the department’s representative on the County’s Stepping Up Initiative, a nationwide effort to reduce the number of people with mental illness in jail.
Heather Huszti, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and Chief Psychologist at CHOC Children’s as well as the Section Chief for Pediatric Psychology. She is the director of training for the Psychology Training Program at CHOC Children’s. Dr. Huszti has also served as a principal investigator on a number of federally funded research projects with a focus on adherence.
Sina M Safahieh, MD, is a psychiatrist certified in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. As the Program Director of ASPIRE at Hoag, a teen outpatient mental health program, he is particularly interested in assisting patients with mood disorders, technology addiction, and ADHD. Other areas of expertise include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and psychotic disorders, and substance abuse/dependency.
Matt Holzmann is the Chair of Government Relations for the Orange County affiliate of the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Haozmann teaches on mental health and is an internationally recognized expert on system change in behavioral health. He has family members with mental illness and has over 35 years of experience in high technology manufacturing.
Marshall Moncrief, MFT, MBA, is a licensed therapist specialized in treating addictions and co-occurring disorders. Currently, Marshall is the Chief Executive Officer of Mind OC, a nonprofit organization advancing Be Well Orange County, a robust, community-wide, cross-sector coalition creating tomorrow’s system of mental health and substance use care.
Senator John Moorlach Represents the 37th Senate District of California. He has been working to end homelessness and improve mental health infrastructure since charring the Orange County Commission to End Homelessness. There he implemented Laura’s Law, a tool to mandate assisted outpatient treatment.
This year, Senator Moorlach introduced Senate Bill 640 to expand the definition of “gravely disabled” to be a person who, as a result of a mental health disorder, is incapable of making informed decisions about basic personal needs for food, clothing, or shelter, without significant supervision and assistance.
The Senator has been a member of the Select Committee on Mental Health since 2018. The committee is authorized and directed to identify the best methods and current trends in mental health treatment. On this committee, he participates in hearings, writes legislation, advocates for critical budget items, and produces relevant reports to improve mental health treatment in California.
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Thank you to all! This was a hope-building session.
Although I don't have a family member with mental illness, I was always assigned to the mentally ill patients in labor and delivery, antepartum. I have a mentally ill friend I visit twice a month... I have a heart and mind for it and looking for a way to use that now that I am retired. We do need long-term psych/med beds for the people who cannot function in the community and have no family.
EVENT WAS WONDERFUL. NEED MORE OF THESE.
So glad I came. I wish more people would educate themselves & hear about solutions.
Family member of someone with mentalillness
CAPTA, Director of Leg.