Advocates dialogue on Assisted Outpatient Treatment – Next steps

1 Comment | Posted

All Network faithful are invited to attend our next dialogue on Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), November 21st, in Washington, DC.

Back in August, when we first conceptualized the idea of the dialogue series, it was in large part based on the encouragement from a Politico article in June that stated that a bipartisan group of House lawmakers were looking for compromise mental health legislation between the two bills in the House (HR 3717 & HR 4574). In the Politico article, Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) expressed hope that common ground could be found on his Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which he introduced late last year. And Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) expressed similar optimism for his bill, which was introduced six months after Murphy’s. According to news reports, the negotiations would begin during the July recess. 

Of significant concern to the Children's Mental Health Network was the fact there was very little discussion of the impact of these two bills on the children's mental health community (including emerging adults up to the age of 26). This vacuum in the conversation about children's mental health reform encouraged us to begin a dialogue with advocates, families and providers, figuring that if members of Congress were going to do it, we should as well. 

Well, guess what? Recess is over and, as we shared two weeks ago, there does not appear to have been any discussion between the offices of Representatives Murphy and Barber. If we are not careful, the narrowly focused rhetoric on both sides of the aisle will pick up right where it left off before Congress went into recess. We must not let that happen.

The dialogue series we have been conducting over the past several months has pointed out in stark relief that a) the issue of Assisted Outpatient Treatment is more complex and far-reaching than many of the most vocal proponents and opponents would have you believe; and b) successful strategies using the AOT process utilize treatment approaches supported by those on both sides of the debate – especially (our personal vested interest) as it relates to emerging adults up to the age of 26!

Here are the details again:
All Network faithful are invited to attend our next dialogue on Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), November 21st, in Washington, DC.

The format for this dialogue will be similar to the previous dialogues. We will begin with a "fishbowl" group that will share experiences with AOT for young adults over the age of eighteen and the process of directing treatment for youth under the age of eighteen. Per usual, House congressional staff are invited to observe the dialogue. We are also inviting advocates and interested citizens to attend the event and observe the dialogue.

Upon completion of the dialogue, we will open up a discussion highlighting our findings over the past several months and encouraging all in attendance to share ideas for how to further develop a comprehensive understanding of the AOT process and the impact this controversial component of HR 3717 is having on the overall discussion of meaningful mental health reform.

We hope Network faithful who are able will attend. We have already heard from several family groups who have committed to attending the dialogue. If you are attending the National Federation of Families conference taking place in Washington, DC that weekend, we encourage you to come participate as well!

Stay tuned for more details and we look forward to seeing you there.


  1. Ruby Lloyd's avatar
    Ruby Lloyd
    | Permalink
    I will be in DC and look forward to being there.
    1. Leave a Comment