Wednesday, October 08, 2008

DISABILITY RIGHTS : the non-timid organization who is going to right the wrongs of NC Mental Health Reform

They're not in anyone's pocket and they're ready to rumble and they have sharpened their tools and they're loaded w/ lawyers.

The same is not true of any of the other mental health advocacy groups or surveillance groups: this includes NAMI NC; Mental Health Association (MHA); the various county and city NAMI chapters dispersed across NC; free-wheeling MH advocates, such as myself; and, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee for Mental Health REform of the NC State Legislature.

The rest of us, including me, are just all talk compared to this group.


A new watchdog shows its teeth
Saturday, September 27th, 2008

By Rob Schofield

"Dix TRO heralds a welcome sea change in the debate over mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse

There are a lot of wonderful groups and individuals in North Carolina who work in the world of mental health, developmental disabilities and substance abuse. For decades, a variety of doctors, nurses, therapists, family members of patients, care providers, housing providers, advocacy groups, journalists and patients themselves have worked hard to reform and modernize our public systems for serving these vulnerable populations.

Unfortunately, despite their many successes through the years in eliminating at least some of the more ghastly practices that once were common in the past century, some basic, unpleasant and vexing truths remain:

#1 - People with mental illness, mental disabilities and substance abuse problems remain an unpopular and weak constituency......

#2 - The nonprofit MH/DD/SA advocacy community is not well-equipped to aggressively confront the established powers that be......"


Here is Disability Rights stated agenda:

1. Investigate claims of abuse, neglect and exploitation of any person with a disability.

2. Investigate, and where appropriate, provide representation to persons with disabilities who have experienced discrimination.

3. Protect individuals with disabilities through age 21 who experience disability-related exclusion from services and ensure a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive setting.


What have they done so far: they noted the most pressing issues and acted boldly:

1. They've noted the critcal matter of closing psychiatric emergency beds in mental health hospitals: they legally halted the evacuation of Dix Hospital which was moving all of its patients into the new problematic Central Regional Hospital.

2. In accord w/ their statement of what they will be attending to, "Earlier this month, the group brought suit against the Wake County schools seeking access to information over alleged mistreatment of autistic children at a middle school."


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