By: Carmen Heredia Rodriguez

November 13, 2018

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Since its inception, the court-ordered intervention has generated controversy. Proponents say it secures the comprehensive care that people with severe mental illnesses might not recognize they need. Yet other health experts question the effectiveness of the intervention and suggest it represents a quick fix in a mental health system that is not adequately serving patients.

 

“It’s a stopgap measure that works in the short term,” said Dr. Annette Hanson, director of the University of Maryland Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship, who co-authored a book on the intervention. “But it’s not a good long-term solution because you still have lots of people who need voluntary care who can’t get” it.

 

Assisted outpatient treatment requires a judge’s order. While the eligibility requirements and compliance standards vary by state, participants typically have a history of arrests and multiple hospitalizations. They stay in their communities while undergoing treatment.