|For Immediate Release
2 Jun 99
NAMI members are encouraged to use this compelling report to augment advocacy efforts, http://www.nytimes.com/library/magazine/home/19990523mag-winerip.html
June 1, 1999
The Honorable George E. Pataki
Executive Chamber State Capitol
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Pataki:
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) calls on you to put things right. End the criminalization, discrimination, homelessness, social isolation, and premature death that too often mark the lives of persons with mental illness.
NAMI is the nation’s leading grassroots advocacy organization solely dedicated to improving the quality of life of individuals affected by severe mental illnesses. Our more than 200,000 members across the country know only too well the bleak reality that Michael Winerip documented vividly in "Bedlam on the Streets" in The New York Times Magazine on May 23, 1999.
While certainly not unique to the state of New York, the failure of the state’s mental health system to provide the treatments, services and programs needed by Andrew Goldstein guarantees that further tragedies will happen. Although complicated, solutions to New York’s crisis do exist.
We ask you to support the following moderate, cost-effective initiatives:
NAMI recognizes the importance, as a last resort, of court-ordered outpatient treatment for responding to individuals who are habitually non-compliant with treatment and who predictably deteriorate as a result of this lack of treatment. But, as Andrew Goldstein’s struggle typifies, far more individuals try to get treatment and can’t. People with severe mental illnesses and their families must, first, be assured that community services and programs are in place.
Governor Pataki, you have the power to help hundreds of thousands of New York citizens who suffer from severe mental illnesses, as well as their families and the broader communities in which they live and work. A compassionate, civilized society does not allow its people to suffer needlessly. Please pledge your leadership and support to helping individuals with severe mental illnesses reclaim their lives.
Executive Director cc: James Stone, Commissioner,
New York State Office of Mental Health