We have no objection to H.B. 14-1271 the so-called “Duty to Warn” bill (mental health professionals warning third parties of threats made by patients) if such a duty to warn is accompanied by a concurrent duty to contact Community Mental Health designees for an immediate treatment plan review and provision of additional home and community based services, including scattered site supportive housing and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), if warranted.
We believe that certification and incarceration of people with mental illness represent treatment failures.
Whether in H.B. 14-1271 or other legislation or policy, all measures designed to increase safety for the general public with respect to the perceived dangerousness of some people with mental illness must be coupled with commensurate review and increase when necessary of services for the individual with mental illness.
This raises a lot of questions that would need to be hashed out – non-Medicaid, etc. AND we think it is worth it – policymakers need to understand that these safety concerns need to be met with increased or better service delivery.
The youtube video above is from Canada and eloquently makes the case for scattered site supportive housing and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT).
It's not that Colorado doesn't have supportive housing or ACT -- just that we don't have near enough of it.
Guess what -- scattered site supportive housing and ACT are not cheap. AND scattered site supportive housing and ACT are the most effective treatment modalities for persistent and severe mental illness.
When we are doing that cost-benefit analysis -- let's realize as Corrections officials keep telling us that most people get out of jail and prison, and more often than not -- they are worse than they were before.