To the Editor: Mental Health Bill Welcomed

My perspective concerning mental health matters comes, firstly, as a family member of persons who fell into the public mental health system. It is also informed by my own experiences within the mental health system as well.

In my view, when someone is experiencing a crisis of one fashion or another, including acute episodes of “mental illness”, whenever possible, the best — most preferred — bed and setting with which to experience healing and support self-defined recovery is found within one’s own residence or, otherwise, a small community-based home-like environment with an array of services and supports offered on a voluntary basis.

However the problem is there has been too much focus and reliance on institutional type of beds and settings along the lines of the former Vermont State Hospital that are vastly dependent on the same old medical treatment model.

What had been lacking and sorely needed instead is the building of a much more robust community-based services system, one far less dependent on forced treatment and medication in general than has been the case up to now.

It is my belief that much of what the mental health reform bill (H.630) will be putting in place, which Governor Peter Shumlin signs into law on April 4th, is certainly heading in the right direction toward attempting to achieve a more balanced approach in order to do so.

While this is something long overdue, it is most gratefully welcomed.

Morgan W. Brown

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