We must also take the high risk of misdiagnosis and bad medicine into account when considering legislation that would forcibly medicate innocent individuals who represent no immediate threat to themselves or others.
California has two major laws that were specifically enacted to help persons with the most serious mental illnesses: Laura's Law and the Mental Health Services Act. Neither has worked as promised and on February 22, 2013, four new bills were introduced to fix them.
Historically, many mental health departments like California and New York elected to require psychotic individuals who don't recognize they are ill to become "danger to self or others" or "gravely disabled" before offering treatment.
The chair of the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission wrote an op-ed criticizing people who criticize how Mental Health Services Act funds are spent. He claims the program is working well. But it's not.
A little noted Laura's Law Progress Report quietly filed by the L.A. County Department of Mental Health earlier this year shows Laura's Law has reduced the incarceration and hospitalization of people with severe mental illness.