Recent Success for the Bay Area’s Campaign Against Expanding Forced Treatment


Thanks to my colleague Khatera Aslami from the Pool of Consumer Champions in Alameda County California for sharing this report:

The Bay Area survivor and peer movement came out strong recently, pushing the Alameda Board of Supervisors to table a proposed expansion of forced outpatient commitment.

AB 1421, more commonly known as Laura’s Law, says that if a court or judge decides that a person with mental health issues requires treatment, they must abide by a plan determined by a team of professionals on an outpatient basis.  The law was passed in California in 2002 but is conditional on California county approval for implementation. Fueled by sensational accounts of the death of Laura Wilcox, who was killed by a man with a psychiatric diagnosis, AB 1421 holds the false promise that force and coercion are the solution to help people in emotional distress.

At the Alameda Board meeting, Supervisors set that aside, and called for a new vote for a “compassionate alternative” — a real victory for the movement.

Watch these videos to get a sense of the Bay Area’s passionate commitment to defend basic rights and promote effective, humane responses for people in crisis.

For more info, check out:


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  1. I was there and it was exciting. Given that the Berkeley City council had passed a unanimous vote calling for the law to go into effect, I was amazed at this vote. What was very striking was the most conservative member of the Board of Supes, Scott Haggerty, openly wrestling with his conscience about how to vote, eventually coming out on our side.

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  2. Ted: Thanks for sharing this development. Cheered me up immensely after reading about the amendment that passed in the US Senate/House in ten minutes.I will watch the video’s as soon as possible. Does this mean that we should focus on city and County ordinances as opposed to state and federal legislation? Because David Oaks got Eugene, Oregon to pass a resolution of human rights for the mentally ill but from my perspective it has no teeth in it, that is if my daughter’s case is example.

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  3. Wow I had no idea that this was happening in the Bay Area! I knew Laura’s Law was originally passed with a county opt-in section and that only 2 counties had until recently adopted the measure. I know Gov Brown had signed off extending the law and wasn’t sure if some things had changed.

    Ted: I’d love to get into contact with the consumers’ movement around here, I’m a college student in Berkeley and a lot of the “student-led mental health advocacy” tends to be rather naive and misinformed about what’s going wrong with our system and what works, even though I think it tends to be spearheaded by some very kind-hearted and well-intentioned students.

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