Thank you for your article on John Rush and his lack of treatment for mental illness after release from Allegheny County Jail and subsequent injuring of several police officers (“Mental Illness in Suspects Poses Challenge for Police,” Feb. 7).
The incident would likely have been avoided if Mr. Rush had been put in assisted outpatient treatment, court-ordered treatment that is mandated and monitored as a condition for living in the community. AOT is only for those who have a history of mental illness and needless arrest violence or hospitalizations due to previous failure to comply with treatment. Pennsylvania allows AOT, but it is rarely used.
U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy proposed HR 3717, “The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” which would provide federal funds for pilot AOT programs. It could help prevent incidents like that involving Mr. Rush. It keeps police, the public and patients safer and deserves the support of everyone.
Mental Illness Policy Org.
New York, N.Y.