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Bill to Help Mentally Ill

February 13, 1988

The Times' backhanded support for AB 2678 (Allen bill) which provides an additional 30 days of treatment for the severely mentally ill, makes one question your thinking ("Only Half the Answer," Editorial, Jan. 25) .

Yes, I agree that there is a need for additional community-based mental health programs, and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has consistently supported this, just as we have supported the additional treatment for those in need. In fact, our current budget shows that 83% of our mental health funds are providing community-based services.

However, those who are declining treatment will never be able to make a rational decision for themselves until they are stabilized and able to return to society and care for themselves.

The plight of the mentally ill will only be addressed when the public has a comprehensive understanding of the problem. The closing of state mental hospitals over 20 years ago has resulted in national tragedy, especially for the homeless mentally ill.

Groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union who oppose this type of legislation have their heads in the sand at the expense of those who need and deserve treatment.

MICHAEL D. ANTONOVICH

Supervisor

Los Angeles County

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