Statewide Op Eds and Letters Oppose Kendra's Law Expansion

Statewide Op Eds and Letters Oppose Kendra’s Law Expansion


Another Voice: Less-Costly Options Exist Than Expansion of Legislation

by Maura Kelley    Buffalo News   June 12, 2012


Fourteen leading statewide mental health and disability advocacy groups join the Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors in opposing such an expansion...Joined by a number of family advocates, our groups oppose these proposals not because, as was suggested, we want to avoid serving our most vulnerable but because we are united in seeking better, more affordable, strategies.

We must object to violent depictions used by proponents to gain support by presenting Kendra’s Law as a public safety measure. Despite lurid front-page coverage of rare tragic events, the facts are that people diagnosed with major mental illnesses are actually 11 times more likely to be victims of violence.

We deserve more and better directed treatment, not more involvement with judges and police who are already overburdened with their primary duties.

Maura Kelley is a recipient of mental health services, Director of Mental Health Peer Connection of the Western New York Independent Living, board member of NYAPRS. Mental Health Empowerment Project, and the New York State Independent Living Council.


Guest Viewpoint: Kendra's Law Violates Rights of Mentally Ill

by Myra Kovary, Steven Periard and Larry Roberts   Ithaca Journal June 12, 2012 


...If one is able to look beyond the stereotypes of the so-called "mentally ill," one might see the existing law - and its proposed extension - as a clear violation of an individual's civil rights, and one would be right.As a result of policies enacted through Kendra's Law and legislation that supports it, we are also more likely to lose our civil rights in the guise of protecting ourselves and the public.

Kovary, Periard and Roberts are members of the Ithaca Mental Patients Advocacy Coalition (IMPAC).


Guest Viewpoint: Kendra's Law Expansion is Wrong Answer for New York

by Harvey Rosenthal Binghamton Press and Sun-Bulletin May 25, 2012


The state Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors conservatively estimates more than $22 million in increased costs to counties for the staff and services necessary to comply with the bill. No county is in a position to absorb another unfunded state mandate, and the result likely would be cuts in services for other people and families in need.


Commentary Not Accurate Picture  

by Harvey Rosenthal   Albany Times Union Letter to the Editor  June 11, 2012


 DJ Jaffe is wrong that the current and largest overhaul of state mental health systems in history doesn’t apply to at risk individuals who have tended to avoid or been ignored by care systems of the past. Hard hitting proposals are making sure that hospitals come up with better discharge plans and are requiring teams of providers to engage and/or follow up closely to help avoid relapse-related crises. These new programs are particularly helping New York’s urban centers, where 82% of Kendra’s Law court orders have previously been used.

These new approaches are fully paid for and will reach a million vulnerable people statewide while the Kendra’s Law expansion bill, which is opposed by 15 statewide advocacy groups including a growing number of family members, will almost double the program’s $32 million cost and still reach only a fraction.

Harvey Rosenthal is a member of New York’s Medicaid Redesign Team, executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) and a person diagnosed with a mental illness who has been a NY based provider and advocate for the past 36 years.)


Consider Voluntary Alternatives to Kendra's Law

by Jason Lippman   Staten Island Advance Letter to the Editor  May 29, 2012


Before reacting to the recently reported incidences in the press by strengthening laws to involuntarily confine or medicate one group based on acts committed by a minority of individuals, let’s make sure that we have exhausted every possible alternative. Let’s examine the voluntary approaches, adequately support the community-based providers that work with the people who may be at-risk for violent episodes, and assist local police departments that keep our communities safe. 

The writer is senior associate for policy and advocacy at The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies, Inc in New York City. .


Better Alternatives Are Available for Kendra’s Law

by Flora Ramonowski  Daily Gazette (Schenectady)  May 29, 2012


Quite often, people seek help but are turned away due to lack of services. It would make more sense to keep an eye on and encourage Gov. Cuomo’s proposals to fill in the gaps, improve outreach and support his behavioral health new home health initiatives. These new programs will hopefully make the mental health services more effective.

Flora L. Ramonowski Schenectady

The writer is a mental health advocate.


Kendra's Law a Valuable Tool (but shouldn’t be made permanent now)

by Robert K. Corliss  Co-chair Forensic Task Force, National Alliance on Mental Illness Schenectady
Albany Times Union  May 29, 2012


...a certain few horrific incidents and a media frenzy among the New York City tabloids should not drive the legislative agenda...Frankly, making Kendra's Law permanent now will not begin to solve all the problems that plague the complicated system...As one who has been involved in forensic mental health advocacy for more than 12 years, I do not look at Kendra's Law as a panacea for all that is wrong...

The law deserves to be made permanent on its own merits, at the right time, not under the present circumstances.


The writers join 15 statewide mental health advocacy groups in opposing S.4881-B/ A.6987-B