Re “Too many people don’t get help with mental illness” (April 14): Thanks for highlighting the connection between untreated serious brain diseases and homelessness and how housing alone will not end street suffering. The barriers to treatment are faced by all people living with these diseases, not just the homeless.
Let’s focus upstream before people end up on our streets. How? Reform outdated federal and state laws that bar access to treatment. End the institutions of mental disease exclusion to increase treatment beds.
Set the bar lower to gain entry into health care by reforming the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act, ending the dangerousness criteria, replacing it with medically necessary treatment.
Make conservatorship an easier option for our sickest. Put teeth into our assisted outpatient treatment programs by accepting those who cannot recognize how sick they are and will never seek care voluntarily. It is our duty to stop this inhumanity. The solutions are in front of us. Where is the political will?