Advocacy Alert

Mental health coverage
is at risk

Congress is bringing back the American Health Care Act, which would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid of billions of dollars in funding. Please remember that Medicaid in California is Medi-Cal. And the bill has gotten worse.

The recently introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.

It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.

Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.

Efforts are being made to generate enough votes which we need stop. We have fought for mental health parity for a long time and this act would reverse years of effort and mean many would not have mental health coverage. Your mental health coverage is at risk.

Tell Congress to #KeepWhatWorks and REJECT the American Health Care Act.

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Thank you for your advocacy efforts.

Meeting Tonight — 7:30 p.m. — Conservatorship

Ms. Gilda Ramos Assistant Division Chief – LPS Program from Los Angeles County Office of the Public Guardian will present on Conservatorship at our monthly meeting 7:30 PM Monday, April 17, 2017.

Ms. Ramos is with the Office of Public Guardian which administers conservatorship in Los Angeles. She will tell us what conservatorship is all about and how one goes about obtaining conservatorship or having someone conserved.

The Caring and Sharing Support Group will start at 6 PM and the Speaker Presentation will start at 7:30 PM at the First Lutheran Church 2900 Carson in Torrance.

Los Angeles Mental Health Court Has Moved

Effective Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, due to structural damage to the Mental Health Courthouse, the courthouse, located at 1150 N. San Fernando Rd., Los Angeles, is closed until further notice. All courthouse operations, including hearings, have been temporarily relocated to:

Metropolitan Courthouse
1945 S. Hill St., Los Angeles 90007

Calendars are relocated as follows:

  • Mental Health Department 95 to Metro Department 69, Room 612
  • Mental Health Department 95A to Metro Department 70, Room 401
  • Mental Health Department 95B to Metro Department 64, Room 400

Public parking is available underground

To enter the building take the elevator from the garage to the first floor and pass through security to access the building elevators.

Metropolitan Courthouse

Meeting Tonight about Special Needs Trusts

Attorney Karen R. Holt will speak at our June 15, 2015, meeting about Special Needs Trust. Karen has spoken at our meetings in the past and her information has been very valuable to our members. If you don’t already have one, it will be your chance to learn about special needs trusts. If you have one established for your loved one, it will be your opportunity to gain current information and updates about special needs trusts. Information is very critical to avoiding loss of government benefits. You won’t want to miss this informative presentation at 7:30 PM at the First Lutheran Church.

In addition to Special Needs Planning, Karen’s practice includes Comprehensive Estate Plans, Business Formation, Real-Estate Transactions, Trust Administration and Probate. Special Needs Planning, in particular, involves advice and documents for complicated issues such as how to leave inheritance or gifts to a loved one who suffers from a disability or advanced age and whom may need long-term care.  Proper planning provides the necessary protection to insure the best financial and medical benefits available while enhancing quality of life for those family members who may not be able to plan for themselves and need our help the most.

The meeting will be preceded by Caring and Sharing Group Support at 6 p.m. in the Fireside Chat Room. The Speaker Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. First Lutheran Church is at 2900 Carson Street, in Torrance, California.

“Dangerousness” Should Guide Policy–not Mental Illness or Gun Ownership

From Psychiatric News Alert: About 8.9 percent of individuals who self-report as having patterns of impulsive angry behavior own guns, and 1.5 percent carry them outside the house, according to an analysis of the National Comorbidity Study Replication study. The study was posted online April 8 in the journal Behavioral Sciences and the Law.

Among those respondents, said Duke University Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D., and colleagues.

“Persons with impulsive angry behavior who carried guns were significantly more likely to meet diagnostic criteria for a wide range of mental disorders, including depression, bipolar and anxiety disorders, PTSD, intermittent explosive disorder, pathological gambling, eating disorder, alcohol and illicit drug use disorders, and a range of personality disorders.”

However, most of those people are legally entitled to own firearms because they have never been involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. Reorienting public policy away from mental illness and toward dangerousness might reduce injury and death by firearms, the authors note. Current approaches to restricting gun access of people with mental disorders have no impact on most of this group, coauthor Paul Appelbaum, M.D., a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, told Psychiatric News.

“We need to reorient our firearms policies toward limiting gun possession by people who lack behavioral control—for example, by taking guns away from people who behave in dangerous ways—rather than focusing excessively on people with serious mental illnesses, as we do today.”

For more in Psychiatric News about dangerousness as a standard for firearms policy, see “Violence Risk, Not Mental Illness, Should Guide Gun Access.” Also, see “Screening for Violence Risk in Military Veterans: Predictive Validity of a Brief Clinical Tool” in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Governor Brown Signs Bill Allowing Families to Seek Gun Restraining Order

California will become the first state that allows family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat.

The new legislation responded to the deadly rampage in May 2014 near University of California, Santa Barbara. Relatives of the victims and other supporters of the bill said the parents of 22 year old Elliot Rodger were thwarted in their attempts to seek help for their troubled son before the rampage.

Weeks before the shooting, Elliot Rodger’s parents had his therapist contact Santa Barbara County mental health officials. Sheriff deputies talked to Elliott Rodger but never entered his apartment or checked to see if he owned guns. The Sheriff’s decided that he was not a threat to himself or others and took no further action.

Elliot Rodger later wrote that had deputies searched his room, they might have found guns that the police said he used to shoot three people after stabbing to death three others.

If you have guns in your home

 please store them safely.

Psychiatrist Exposes Violent Environment inside California’s Napa State Hospital

Dr. Stephen Seager, M.D. has written a book “Behind the Gates of Gomorrah”; which recounts his rookie year in Unit C, at Napa State Hospital.

In praise for the book Dr. Judy Melinek asks:

“What happens when the judicial system concentrates a population of criminally insane men with nothing to lose and no compunction  against murderous violence behind razor wire and steel doors? Dr. Seager reveals both the courage and the empathy demanded of the staff at this hospital without healing and a prison without guards.”

The book is available in Kindle format as well as Hardcover.