California May Require Care for Those With Mental Illness

Under a new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom, Californians with untreated mental illness and addiction disorders may be detained against their will and forced into treatment in an effort to improve the state's mental health system and solve the state's rising homelessness epidemic.

Senate Bill 43, which Newsom signed into law on October 10, broadens the meaning of "gravely ill" to encompass those who are unable to care for themselves because of untreated mental illness or dangerous substance use problems.

Those people will not be qualified for conservatorship, which will essentially compel them to seek mental health care. The rule is a component of the Golden State's attempts to combat homelessness since local governments have complained that they are powerless to intervene on behalf of an individual who declines assistance.

Accessing healthcare is challenging and impacts one's physical and emotional well-being.

As a result, those who are homeless frequently have worse health outcomes than those who have shelter. Public health measures are especially crucial to safeguard the health of those who are homeless and promote the end of homelessness.

Civil liberties supporters, on the other hand, are concerned that it would enable the state to force its will on people excessively.

Sen. Susan Talamantes Eggman of the state first presented the legislation, which will modernize the circumstances in which this intervention can be taken into consideration and provide the first-ever significant openness of data and fairness regarding mental health conservatorships.

In a statement, Newsom emphasized that California is completely revamping its mental health care system.

We are working to ensure no one falls through the cracks, and that people get the help they need and the respect they deserve.


The LPS Act

The 1967 Lanterman-Petris-Short (LPS) Act, which ended involuntary, indefinite incarceration, is updated by this statute.

According to Eggman, the LPS Act was passed during a period when the general public's policy was to house mentally ill individuals. To guarantee that each person's rights are upheld, the Act provided significant and robust civil liberty provisions.

Like many things that are decades old, it has long been time to make some adjustments to the law to address the realities we are seeing today on our streets.


Although counties may choose to delay implementation until 2026, the law goes into force in 2024. The modifications will provide the state with another tool to improve its mental health care system.

A new court procedure that allowed family members and other interested parties to request a judge to develop a treatment plan for a specific individual with a diagnosis, such as schizophrenia, was established under a statute signed by Newsom last year.

Under that statute, a judge might order someone into therapy for a maximum of one year. The seven counties where the court initiative was launched this month also sought to address the state's homelessness problem.

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