We need your help this coming Monday January 25th at 1pm to be at the Legislature regarding LD 1526
“An Act to Permit Disclosure of Certain Intelligence and Investigative Record Information by a Criminal Justice Agency to a Nongovernmental Advocacy Program for Persons with a Mental illness”
To see the text of the bill go to this link: http://legislature.maine.gov/bills/getPDF.asp?paper=SP0588&item=1&snum=127
Criminal Justice Room 436 at the State House
While this is short notice, we are just getting some understanding in the last 24 hours about what this bill is about and what its impact could potentially be. We are hoping that those in the Consumer Community that can, will come and speak about their thoughts about how this bill feels to those of us with mental health challenges.
To summarize: LD 1526 adds language to an existing bill regarding Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims that allows for law enforcement to contact a Domestic Violence and/or Sexual Assault Advocacy agency to reach out to the victim to offer support and resources for help. The law enforcement community and NAMI crafted this bill thinking they could just add language to include a Mental Health Advocate and the same rules would apply. Law enforcement would contact the Mental Health advocate and ask them to call the person they consider to be in need of help regardless if said person asked or wants the follow up. Now think of how this would look for a mental health consumer: law enforcement can be called for any reason and think that someone might have a mental health need. They then can give some information (what and how much is still unknown) to a mental health advocacy agency to call you whether or not you have asked for or want it.
Here are the concerns we have that we are going to ask about:
· DV/SA are legal issues and MH is a protected health issue. How does this relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
· How does a non-trained mental health person i.e. law enforcement decide there is a mental health issue?
· What information is shared, who has access and how is it managed?
· There are not MH advocate organizations that have the capacity or would want to do this work. (NAMI, DRM)
· Why doesn’t law enforcement personnel offer resources to the person and allow them to choose to access help if they need or want it?
· When does genuine concern trump civil rights?
Please contact the CCSM office at 1-877-207-5073 if you want more information or need assistance in any way. You can also just be at the hearing to lend support and show the committee that our community is listening and concerned.