Laura’s Law authorizes court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill. Enacted more than a decade ago, it has been left to individual Counties to opt-in. Initially, Laura’s Law was applied only in a pilot program in Nevada County. In the last year, more Counties are adopting and funding Laura’s Law.
This month Contra Costa County joined the growing list of Counties seeing the benefits of outpatient treatment for the severely mentally ill who otherwise would be subject to a revolving door approach of 5150 confinements. It is not without controversy. Some mental health advocates see this as infringing on the rights of adults to choose whether or not to be medicated. But for families trapped on a roller coaster of involuntary confinements and dangerous spirals of symptoms, they see hope for their children and loved ones.
While many believe this law will reduce the cost of mental health services, it is about far more than just saving dollars.