KENTUCKY — Since 2017, Kentucky, along with 47 other states, has offered court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment. This method of court-ordered mental health care ensures that individuals with severe mental illness get the treatment they need, when they are not capable of seeking it out on their own.
This program is named Tim’s Law, which is named for Tim Morton, a Lexington man who was committed to psychiatric hospitals 37 times before he died, the measure is designed to stop the revolving door of jails, hospitals and homelessness with little benefit for such individuals.
T.J. Litafik is a lobbyist with NAMI Kentucky, which is the state chapter for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and also is the owner/principal with Solon Strategies, LLC. During this In Focus Kentucky segment, Litafik explains how Tim’s Law actually works, who qualifies for the service and the importance of providing expanding treatment options for people dealing with mental illness.
"Tim's Law allows for loved ones of people suffering from mental illness to go to district court to begin a process a legal process of filing a petition that will mandate that they get the treatment that they need to protect themselves and protect others," explains Litafik.
With comprehensive, thought-out treatment, people with the most severe symptoms of mental illness can access outpatient mental health services instead of constantly being hospitalized.
"The idea of Tim's Law is that it's it's a process that an individual's family or loved ones can initiate and then the treatment comes when the process is started. And then the individual is, is is brought into a treatment based situation," adds Litafik.
You can watch the full In Focus segment in the player above.