In an “important legislative victory” patients in psychiatric hospitals in Massachusetts now will be allowed “daily access to fresh air and the outdoors,” according to a press release from the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee. Outgoing Governor Deval Patrick signed the new legislation into effect on his last day in office.
“I was pretty stunned,” said Jonathan Dosick in the press release. Dosick is an MIA Blogger who has written about his long campaign for the legislation. “It was a real nail biter in those last few days.”
“Although the right to daily time outdoors may seem trivial” when compared with other fundamental rights, stated the press release, “to those who have experienced life inside a psychiatric unit of a hospital or other inpatient facility, the promise of even temporary reprieve from their confines can have important implications for those persons’ mental health and recovery prospects.”
However, the press release stated, Dosick has concerns that the bill still “lacks robust mechanisms to ensure its proper enforcement.”
“Fresh Air Bill” Passed, Establishing Sixth Fundamental Right for DMH (Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee press release, February 5, 2015)
Common Sense, Deferred: Lessons From the “Fresh Air” Fight, Part One (Mad In America, September 17, 2012)
Common Sense, Deferred: Lessons From the “Fresh Air” Fight, Part Two (Mad In America, October 28, 2012)