Sandy Hook: AU's Involvement and Response
In the aftermath of the December 14, 2012 Sandy Hook tragedy in Newtown, CT, Advocacy Unlimited has been extremely proactive in monitoring, responding to, participating in, advocating, and reacting to media coverage and legislation surrounding the incident, especially where it became discriminatory or encroached upon Human Rights.
- AU Board Member Kathleen Flaherty named to Governor Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission
January 8, 2013 – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced the names of 16 members of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission. Among the experts named was AU Board of Directors member Kathleen Flaherty, Staff Attorney, Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut and Facilitator/State Trainer, NAMI CT…see Gov. Malloy Names Members.
Announced by Governor Malloy on January 3rd, the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission is a 16-member panel of experts created to review current policy and make specific recommendations in the areas of public safety, with particular attention paid to school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention…see Gov. Malloy Creates Sandy Hook Advisory Commission and also Sandy Hook Advisory Commission.
- Crucial Newtown Shooting Questions Not Yet Asked – What Do School Shooters Have in Common?
January 16, 2013 – By Gracelyn Guyol: Debate following the Newtown school shootings has focused primarily on outlawing automatic weapons and turning schools into fortresses with guards. Yet many crucial questions remain unasked. The most obvious is what do all school shooters have in common?
A list of teens committing school violence in the U.S. from 1988-2006, according to Citizen's Commission on Human Rights, reveals most were currently using or recently taken off psychiatric prescriptions, primarily antidepressants…read the full article.
(Thanks to AU Advocate Kathryn Bourque for submitting this article to us.)
- Mental Health Treatment Should Focus On Recovery
January 25, 2013 – Commentary by Deron Drumm and Greg Benson, posted in the Hartford Courant…read the article here.
- Stop Psychiatric Profiling
January 29, 2013 – AU Executive Director Dr. Karen Kangas was one of the invited experts to appear before the Mental Health Services Working Group of the Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence and Children's Safety public hearing held at the Legislative Office Building. Dr. Kangas spoke passionately and persuasively on psychiatric profiling and discrimination.
Advocacy Unlimited's presence at the hearing was extremely visible. A large group of AU staff and supporters were present, all wearing T-Shirts distributed by Advocacy Unlimited that read "Stop Psychiatric Profiling." AU staff and supporters testified as well, driving home the point that forced treatment of people – people who haven't broken any laws and who haven't even been accused of breaking any laws – with treatment that can have terrible outcomes will not better our communities in response to a tragedy or at any time.
In all, 40 dedicated people wearing their AU supplied "Stop Psychiatric Profiling" T-Shirts spent over 16 hours at the hearing that day!
- Human Rights Rally
On Saturday, March 2, 2013, Advocacy Unlimited, Inc., held a Human Rights Rally at the State Capitol in response to proposed unconstitutional laws which would lead to forced drugging, human rights violations, and more people entering a broken medical model mental health system for treatment. This was a day to challenge our communities to not perpetuate the status quo, to celebrate our uniqueness and interconnection in the human family, and to promote communities of acceptance which encourage, allow, and facilitate individualized movement toward lives rich in meaning…see more.
- Increased Focus on Mental Health Care – What Does it Mean for Latinos?
March 5, 2013 – By Wayne Jebian, CTLatinoNews.com: The rush to mental health reform in the wake of Sandy Hook is running into opposition from mental health advocates who fear the legislation could further stigmatize the mentally ill, while some Latino experts are concerned new tougher laws may prevent some Latinos from even acknowledging mental health needs or finding adequate care…read more.
- Executive Director Deron Drumm testifies before the Governor's Sandy Hook Commission
On March 22, 2013, AU Executive Director Deron Drumm was invited to testify before Governor Malloy's Sandy Hook Advisory Commission. Deron testified during the Behavioral Health – Increasing Public Awareness and Decreasing Discrimination segment of the meeting. AU Board of Directors member Kathleen Flaherty, Staff Attorney, Statewide Legal Services of Connecticut, is a member of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission. Watch Deron's testimony here.
- Response to the Hartford Courant article, “Power Needed To Make Potentially Dangerous People Take Their Meds”
March 28, 2013, Mad in America — AU staff member and Human Rights Advocate Greg Benson responded to the Hartford Courant article “Power Needed To Make Potentially Dangerous People Take Their Meds.” As Greg states, “The title of the article concedes that Intensive Outpatient Commitment Laws preemptively abridge the liberty of individuals who haven't done anything wrong and haven't even been accused of doing anything wrong”…see all of Greg's article.
- Diagnosis: Human
New York Times Op-Ed published April 2, 2013 by Ted Gup — “The news that 11 percent of school-age children now receive a diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder - some 6.4 million - gave me a chill. My son David was one of those who received that diagnosis”…see the full article.
- CT Gun Bill and Mental Health
On Thursday, April 4th, AU's Executive Director Deron Drumm was interviewed by Fox News CT's Louisa Moller regarding the mental health provisions included in CT's sweeping new gun laws. The interviewed aired on Thursday night's WTIC Channel 61 local news…watch the interview. (2 min., 37 sec.)
- Please Defend the Right to Bear Arms
On April 7, 2013, Mad in America posted Executive Director Deron Drumm's blog regarding the newly passed Connecticut State Law that suspends constitutional rights for people that VOLUNTARILY seek help for an emotional experience that results in a night in a hospital: “I hope that we all will stand up and fight this unconstitutional provision. I hope we will demand all of our constitutional rights. I know I will be standing up”…see the full blog.
- Senator Linares Explains Why He Voted Against Gun Bill
April 9, 2013, CTLatinoNews.com — The only Latino to vote against Connecticut's sweeping and historic gun bill in response to the Newtown shooting was Senator Art Linares. CTLatinoNews.com asked Senator Linares to share his perspective on why he voted against it…read Sen. Linares explanation here.
- Family Members – Allies or Adversaries?
April 30, 2013 – Mad in America also posted Deron Drumm's blog Family Members – Allies or Adversaries? “I think there is little doubt that family members testifying and advocating for forced treatment and increased access to services has been effective (Intensive Outpatient Commitment exists in 44 states and counting). I now believe that in order to truly influence policy and spur significant change in the mental health system it is important that family members see that the problem is the services, not access to them”…see the full blog.
- Just Getting Psychiatric Help Shouldn't Disqualify People From Getting Gun Permit
July 16, 2013 – By Greg Benson, published in The Hartford Courant. “Buried in Connecticut's 'historic' gun bill, which was passed in the early morning hours on April 4, was language that creates institutionalized discrimination against people who seek psychiatric help”…read the full article.
- Mentally ill doesn't mean murderer
September 24, 2013 – By James Alan Fox, USA Today Board of Contributors. “Mass killings calls for focus on mental health for wrong reasons. A new Gallup poll taken after last week's tragedy at the Washington Navy Yard reveals that Americans fault the mental health system for mass shootings, even more than inadequate gun laws. Apparently, according to Joe Public, guns don't kill, psychotic people do”…read the full article.
- Task Force Gets Busy Addressing Mental Health Post-Newtown
September 25, 2013 – By Christine Stuart, CTNewsJunkie. “There are still more questions than answers for the task force charged with making recommendations about behavioral and mental health services for young adults”…read the article.
- Response to Sandy Hook Report
November 29, 2013 – AU staff member and Human Rights Advocate Greg Benson posted a response on Mad in America to the Connecticut State's Attorney report on the investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings: “I am concerned about how our state will respond to the report of the State's Attorney on the investigation into the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings. The report appropriately attributes accountability for the unconscionable murder to Adam Lanza – not to an ‘untreated’ mental disorder”…see Greg's article.
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