Dean Spade on the shootings and mental health care

“We have a long history in the US of giving people involuntary medical treatment and using mental institutions to lock up people who are “different” or threatening to social norms,” says University of Washington law professor Dean Spade, author of the book,  Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of Law.imgres-3

Spade was speaking about California’s “Laura’s Law” which provides court-ordered outpatient treatment for the seriously mentally ill.  “So many people who could use mental health care do not reach out for it because they are afraid that they will be locked up involuntarily if they reach out to a provider,” Spade said.

Spade is the subject of an interview appearing in today’s issue of The Nation conducted by Laura Flanders. The article begins,

“Exactly as the shootings debate is playing out, funding for mental health services are teetering on the fiscal brink. Obama and Speaker John Boehner are considering long-term cuts to Medicaid, which underwrites services for more than 60 percent of people in the public mental health system, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. And that’s on top of state cuts amounting to some $5 billion from public mental health spending in the past four years, even as ten percent more people have sought services.

‘It takes us back to the same old story: we’d all be healthier under a free national healthcare system not subject to the Congressional football match. Meanwhile, we’re likely to see action for action’s sake, and that’s served us—especially some of us—very poorly.

Flanders interview with Spade addresses “trickle-up, rather than “trickle-down” justice. For complete story, see:



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