Q13 FOX Season of Giving

Families speak in support of ‘Joel’s Law’ advocating judicial review of mental health cases

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Texas Iraq War Veteran Struggles to Cope with Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. From Getty Images

SEATTLE (AP) — A series of family members choked back tears as they urged lawmakers pass a bill to remove what they say are roadblocks to getting treatment for mentally ill people in crisis.

They spoke Monday in Olympia in support of Sen. Steve O’Ban’s bill that he is calling “Joel’s Law.”

The measure was named for Joel Reuter. He was suicidal when he was fatally shot in 2013 by Seattle police.

The measure would let families ask a judge to review cases whenever a designated mental health profession decides against detaining someone who is a danger to themselves or others.

The families testified that too often, those mental health professionals fail to see the crisis situation, and that failure has resulted in deaths.

The ACLU and the public defender’s office testified against the bill. They say the problem lies with a lack of state funding for mental health issues.

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2 comments

  • Crazy eyes

    Because a judge is so much more capable than a doctor to descide when a mental health issue is present. So much fail with this idea.

    • Don

      No, but one would hope family members would be. By their own admission, mental health workers are are almost never able to predict suicidality, unless the patient is already exhibiting signs of suicidal thoughts or actions. More funding is needed but it ain’t gonna help predict suicide attempts. People that are depressed or suicidal possibly due to those lovely (NON) anti-depressants doctors hand out like candy tend to hide those feelings and thoughts from their family, friends, and doctors for one reason or another. In those instances where family members do take notice and are concerned, should they not be able to ask for help, beyond that of what’s available through the health care system? I think so, though with suitable limits.