Alameda County Passes Laura’s Law Unanimously
(Nov. 18, 2015) The Alameda County’s Board of Supervisors this week adopted Laura’s Law by a unanimous vote making it the fourteenth California county to add this valuable tool to the list of treatment options for people with serious mental illness.
This vote is a victory for mental health advocates who have long called for passage of assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) in their county.
“In Alameda every 48 minutes someone is placed in a costly emergency psychiatric evaluation because he or she has been deemed a danger to himself or herself or others,” wrote Alameda Supervisor Wilma Chan in the San Francisco Chronicle earlier this year. “This is the highest rate in the state of California.”
“I have watched paranoid schizophrenia rob my son of all personal dignity, of all ability to gauge what is real,” wrote Gloria Davidson in the hope that her story might reinforce the desperate need for Laura’s Law in Alameda County. “On the continuum of illness, he has been robbed of his ability to choose a path that creates the life his supporters now have.”
The law is named after Laura Wilcox, a university student who was shot to death while she was volunteering in a mental health clinic by a man with untreated schizophrenia. The law was passed to provide a pathway to recovery for the individuals most at risk for violence, incarceration, homelessness and other ills because they struggle to stay in treatment.
Even though Alameda will make fourteen counties using the law, families in the state’s other forty-four counties that have not yet implemented the law remain virtually powerless to help their loved ones and communities escape the consequences of untreated severe mental illness.
Visit our Laura’s Law page for useful tips and information about the law.