Candidates For Governor Of Oregon Respond To The Uncommitted Inquiry And Civil Commitment Criteria

Candidates for governor of Oregon and state legislators have stated that they favor reviewing the laws governing compulsory mental healthcare and civil commitment.

The investigative series “Uncommitted” looked into flaws in the mental healthcare system and showed how strict requirements for involuntary care can exacerbate a loop that fails persons with severe mental illness.

The majority of those surveyed, including parents, physicians, mental health specialists, police officers, and judges, felt that Oregon’s rules for civil commitment are unbalancedβ€”weighing too heavily on individual rights above advised care.

Unless they pose an immediate threat to themselves or others, people with serious mental illness who refuse treatment are typically freed from care.

The Oregon state legislature is ultimately responsible for modifying the laws governing civil commitment, so KGW contacted the candidates for governor and state legislators for their stances.

Response From Betsy Johnson

Governor candidate Betsy Johnson, who is not affiliated, claimed that the state’s requirements for mandatory mental healthcare are excessive.

Johnson added, “We have to stop using the streets and our communities as a waiting area for mental health treatment. “I think the pendulum has swung too far in favor of letting individuals fend for themselves instead of getting them the aid they require.”

“Assistance gets mentally ill folks off our streets and gets the help they need,” Johnson promised if elected governor.

Candidates For Governor Of Oregon Respond To The "Uncommitted" Inquiry
Candidates For Governor Of Oregon Respond To The “Uncommitted” Inquiry

“Mental health services in Oregon rank worst in the nation, and our state hospital is in disrepair. I’ll repair it. I don’t want to sweep this under the brush; it’s a priority for me,” she remarked. “This is an example of how dogma obstructs workable answers. Since people who suffer from serious mental illness are by definition incapable of making wise decisions on their own, we must take action to place them in safer circumstances.

Response From Tina Kotek

Tina Kotek, a Democratic candidate for governor, stated that she is open to examining the standards but refrained from claiming that they are uneven.

“I appreciate your thoughtful reporting. In order for people to have a chance to stabilize and improve, we need to make sure we’re linking them with services, Kotek said in a statement. I’d be willing to collaborate with lawmakers and other interested parties to reexamine the requirements for civil commitment.

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In addition to fixing the deficit of mental health professionals, Kotek said she wants to evaluate the Oregon Health Authority.

As governor, Kotek vowed to fight to ensure that Oregon has a successful, all-encompassing plan that will give more individuals access to peer support, housing, and other resources. This necessitates spending the additional $500 million added by the legislature for the purpose of enhancing mental health and addiction treatment, as well as more supportive housing, as well as the additional millions that voters approved through Measure 110. As governor, I will insist on outcomes.

Christine Drazan

Christine Drazan, a Republican candidate, did not respond to KGW’s four requests for comment or issue a statement.

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