I’ll Be Part Of AOT Discussion At NAMI Convention


I’ll be participating in an afternoon session Thursday (7-9-15) at the national convention of the National Alliance on Mental Illness being held this week in San Francisco.  The panel discussion is entitled: Treatment Engagement in San Francisco: Humane or Coercion?

In July 2014, San Francisco approved an innovative approach to engage individuals living with serious mental illness who are most vulnerable to hospitalization, arrests or other negative consequences due to lack of treatment. Laura’s Law authorizes courts to order treatment for individuals who meet specific criteria. San Francisco’s approach differs from other states and counties in key ways. Peers and family members must be included on all treatment teams. Additionally, comprehensive services must be available to individuals on a voluntary basis before a court order can be issued. This forum will examine San Francisco’s new approach from multiple perspectives, including peers, family members, mental health professionals and others.

I will be joined on the panel by:

* Angelica Almeida, Ph.D., Director, Assisted Outpatient Treatment Program, San Francisco Department of Health, San Francisco

*Eric Arauz, MLER, President, Trauma Institute of New Jersey, LLC and Adjunct Faculty, Department of Psychiatry, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, East Brunswick, N.J.

*Stephen R. Jaffe, Esq., J.D., Attorney and Owner, Jaffe Law Firm, San Francisco

*Sandra Robison, Founder and Director, Pathways to Discovery, San Francisco Department of Public Health, San Francisco

*Scott Zeller, M.D., Chief, Psychiatric Emergency Services, John George Psychiatric Hospital, Alameda Health System, Oakland and Past President, American Association for Emergency Psychiatry, Orinda, Calif.

Our discussion will be moderated by Ron Honberg, NAMI’s Director of Policy and Legal Affairs.

Few subjects in mental health are as contentious as Assisted Outpatient Treatment. All but five states have AOT laws on the books but many do not enforce them. San Francisco has always been known as a liberal haven and its decision to begin using a modified version of an AOT law surprised many.

If you are attending the convention, please say hello. As a lifetime member of NAMI, I am always happy to visit with and learn from my fellow members.

Hope to see you there!


About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.