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Advocates Push for Law Ordering Mental Health Treatment

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Mental health advocates presented Kentucky lawmakers with hours of testimony Wednesday about why the commonwealth needs a law allowing judges to order some people to get treatment.

The Interim Joint Committee on Health and Welfare heard testimony from mental health patients and parents advocating for a new law to let judges order outpatient mental health treatment for people meeting certain criteria.

The testimony included comments from Kelly Gunning, who said her son has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and has refused treatment. Gunning says her son assaulted her and her husband in January and is now in jail facing felony assault charges.

Kentucky Public Advocate Ed Monahan opposes the idea, saying treatment works best if it is voluntarily. He expressed concern that the proposal would violate individual liberty.

Ebony Clark is a student at Murray State University majoring in computer science. She was born in Brownsville, Tennessee. Ebony has served as a reporter for 4-H congress in Nashville, TN where she spoke with several state leaders and congressmen. Ebony enjoys writing poetry and spoken word and competed in Tennessee's Poetry Out Loud competition hosted by the arts council in Nashville,TN.
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