State fails people with mental illness

Photo: medicine bottle

That's what a mental health task force told state lawmakers on Thursday.

People on drugs for psychiatric conditions often have their treatment interrupted or altered when they go to jail, get out or transfer to the state mental hospital.

That's because different facilities don't all stock the same medications and changing medications can keep people incarcerated for longer than necessary.

Senator Irene Aguilar, who is a physician, asked for recommendations to solve the problem.

"I am embarrassed to hear about what we do to people with mental health and medications," Aguilar said. "I think it's almost criminal. It's medically substandard care."

Aguilar asked the state's Behavioral Health Transformation Commission for ideas to standardize medication supplies at joint meeting of House-Senate health committees on Thursday.