RESPOND TO NEW YORK TIMES OP-ED (LONG-TERM INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF PEOPLE WITH MENTAL DISABILITIES”

Reprinted from Leah Harris FB post, February 20, 2015

PLEASE take 10 minutes today to write to the NYT and tell them what you think about re-institutionalizing with disabilities. Talking points are below.

We Must Respond to the New York Times Op-Ed Advocating
Long-Term Institutionalizaton of People with Mental Disabilities
February 20, 2015 – An op-ed headlined “The Modern Asylum” in The New York Times this week has sparked much discussion and concern in the mental health and disabilities communities. The piece endorses ideas put forth recently in a JAMA editorial subtitled “Bring Back the Asylum.” In addition to repeating the call for reverting to long-term institutionalization for people with mental illness, the Times op-ed proposes including people with intellectual disabilities as well. You can read it here:

http://www.nytimes.com/…/02/18/opin…/the-modern-asylum.html…

There are many responses to the op-ed in the comments section. It would be helpful for as many people as possible to offer their comments about what a bad idea this is.

IT ALSO WOULD BE VERY USEFUL FOR AS MANY ORGANIZATIONS AS POSSIBLE TO SEND A SHORT LETTER TO THE EDITOR RESPONDING TO THIS OP-ED. LTEs should be 150-175 words – only a couple of paragraphs. The more LTEs they get opposing the ideas that are promoted in the op-ed, the more likely they are to publish some of these. Also it’s important for the editorial board to hear from a ton of people in order to understand how far out of the mainstream and widely rejected the idea of expanding long-term institutionalization is.

PLEASE SUBMIT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Instructions for submitting a letter to the editor are here:

http://www.nytimes.com/…/site/editorial/letters/letters.html

Points the letters can make include:
We have years of experience with community services that work, and the problem is that they are under-funded and in short supply, not that people with disabilities belong in institutions;
Public policies should emphasize proven treatment that promotes recovery and services and support that empower people to make their own life choices and participate fully in their communities;
We should not go back to the failed policies of long-term institutionalization that cannot provide individualized care and lead to restraint and seclusion, over-medication and other abuses.

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