OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Tuesday night, January 6, District Attorney Mark D’Antonio hosted a town hall meeting regarding mental health and the law. Special guest Senator Mary Kay Papen will be proposing the ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT ACT to the 2015 legislature this spring.

Frequently, law enforcement is unable to assist a person with a mental illness because they are not posing an immediate threat to themselves or the community but are in real need of assistance, proving to be a real issue in our community.  In other instances law enforcement are basically forced to incarcerate a person who is in desperate need of mental health assistance due to their actions but with the gaping hole in a lack of resources the person ends up back on the street and the cycle repeats.

District Attorney Mark D’Antonio stated “This bill is not the cure-all, save-all, but it is a step in the right direction for New Mexico and we thank Senator Papen for taking it before the legislature.”

Panelists included Dr. Abraham Fiszbein, Dr. Danielle Nixon, Sheriff Enrique Vigil and Las Cruces Police Officer Robert McCord. Sheriff Vigil vowed that his staff would receive as much training as possible in order to be well equipped to deal with any incident involving a mentally ill person. LCPD Officer McCord stated that he has been on the force for 9 years and he is proud to say that 40% of their staff are C.I.T. (Crisis Intervention Team) certified and they will continue to train the remaining staff.

Link to the proposed bill ASSISTED OUTPATIENT TREATMENT ACT OF 2015