What We Are Asking and Why

What We Ask of our Policy Makers

1. Provide more psychiatric beds.

Build new or expand existing secure acute and sub-acute hospitals and improve their quality so they are truly healing environments and meet the demonstrated capacity needs of our county.

2. Create more permanent, licensed supportive housing.

Provide housing to accommodate diverse levels of ability and need.

3. Implement a consistent, unbroken continuum of care.

Follow individuals as they transition between levels of care, improving case management and enforcing medication mandates when appropriate to maintain progress and prevent patients from ending up in the revolving door of recurring hospitalizations.

Why We Ask - Our Mission Statement

As members of FASMI, we speak on behalf of those unable to speak for themselves. We speak for those that society avoids with trepidation on city streets, those languishing in prison or county jails, those we care for at home behind closed doors. We speak for those with serious mental illness. Families are the frontline of care and sustenance for the seriously mentally ill, but without the support of our institutions and laws we are helpless to protect our loved ones, and they become society’s problems.

Mental health treatment must be equivalent in quality to other medical treatment.

Health care is a human right. Those suffering from disorders of the brain should not receive a different standard of care from those whose illness affects any other organ in the body. This is why families and caregivers organize and fight for change. Our loved ones who suffer from the most disabling forms of mental illness deserve the highest quality of medical treatment, state of the art facilities, including supportive housing and social services.  But our current laws create unnecessary barriers to treatment, and often disproportionately focus resources on programs to improve the mental health of the general public rather than to treat serious mental illness.  African-American and other minority communities suffer especially from inappropriate and inadequate services, and every effort must be expended to remedy this inequity. Our most needy ill should not be the least served.

A full range of quality facilities and services is essential.

A functioning mental health care system must provide an integrated system that satisfies the demonstrated need at all levels of care. This includes having sufficient bed capacity for inpatient care. The Treatment Advocacy Center has found that, between 1955 and 2016, psychiatric hospital beds decreased by more than 95.5%. We must reverse this trajectory and expand acute and subacute mental health facilities so they adequately meet the needs of our population. We must also build a supply of permanent supportive housing to enable those with mental illness to live in their communities with dignity and be protected from the dangers of substances, sexual abuse, and street and police violence.

Psychosis is an illness to be treated, not a right to be preserved.

There is a particular challenge to serving those suffering from certain psychotic disorders. Up to 50% do not recognize their illness and thus are resistant to treatment. Those who are too ill to engage voluntarily in treatment too often fall into the criminal justice system or wind up living, untreated, on our streets. Our mental health system must provide services and programs that reach those who suffer from these illnesses even when they are unable themselves to ask for help.