Faith and Mental Health

Serious mental illness is the driving force behind a host of issues that profoundly affect individuals living with psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, their families and society. Yet evidence about the role of severe mental illness is systematically under-collected, overlooked or ignored by government agencies and other organizations. The Woodside community wants to be a part of changing that.

July 30, 2020

We can advocate for change to treatment policies regarding the mentally ill in Bucks County and the State of PA. Two important shifts will be to implement Behavioral or Mental Health Court (BHC) in Bucks and raise awareness for needed funding for services.

Currently the treatment of mentally ill defendants by our court system mostly routes individuals to jail instead of to professional services which could address their mental health needs. Once incarcerated a disregard for an individual's need for mental health treatment serves to cause further and often debilitating deterioration.

The first and best line of defense is keeping the mentally ill from being incarcerated in the first place. Mental health courts serve to do that by partnering key justice system officials with leaders in the mental health system to divert offenders with severe mental illness into a judicially supervised program and includes community-based treatment.

We also need to petition the State to fund legislation entitled Act 106 which supports Assisted Outpatient Treatment or AOT.

Act 106 was passed in Pennsylvania in 2018 and voted into law in 2019 with no funding, yet it's implementation will be crucial to offering support services to the mentally ill. This article explains barriers to funding.

Ways to Advocate:

Write letters/emails to our local County and State Representatives and Judges.  Find sample letters and contact information here.

Compassion in Action PDF outlining the role faith based communities can play in caring for the Mentally Ill.

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