Bob Carolla 703-524-7600
|Release Embargoed Until
25 Mar 99
(Arlington, VA)--NAMI today applauded the introduction of three bills by Senators Joseph Lieberman and Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, and Representatives Diana DeGette of Colorado, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Pete Stark of California, to establish national standards to prevent abuse of restraints and seclusion in psychiatric facilities. "Each bill represents an important step forward from the status quo and a serious, thoughtful response to a national crisis," said NAMI Executive Director Laurie Flynn. "This is an urgent problem. It will not go away."
NAMI also released a summary of reports of abuses compiled since The Hartford Courant published a major investigative series on the issue late last year. The NAMI document includes five deaths over the past months---four of them of youths under age 18. The most recent involved a nine year-old boy.
"Every report represents a cry of anguish," Flynn declared. "People are dying, including children…These are only the ones we know about…Deaths and human trauma will continue unless Congress acts."
NAMI endorsed the House bill as "the strongest and most protective approach being proposed," while saying that bills introduced and co-sponsored by Lieberman and Dodd "together provide a foundation for action in the Senate."