Advocacy E-News May 5, 2014
May 5, 2014
LAWSUIT ON HOW COLLEGES DEAL WITH MENTAL-HEALTH ISSUES
An uneasy question is hanging over Princeton University as the semester draws to a close: Is the school within its rights to force suicidal students to leave? That issue is at the center of a lawsuit against the Ivy League school and seven of its officials, filed in late March.
In the suit, the plaintiff alleges that after he took a large dose of pills in his dorm room, the university discriminated against him on the basis of disability—by not providing reasonable accommodation for his mental illness and by pressuring him to leave. The lawsuit alleges violations of the plaintiff’s rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the New Jersey Law against Discrimination, among other statutes.
N.J. OFFICIALS GRANT HOSPITAL FIRST APPROVALS TO CLOSE PSYCH UNIT
Warren County mental health advocates and Prosecutor Richard Burke traveled to the capital this morning to urge state officials to permit only downsizing the unit rather than closing it entirely. Instead, Department of Health and State Health Planning Board officials said that isn’t a viable alternative to closing the 16-bed inpatient behavioral health unit at the Phillipsburg hospital. State officials recommended, with 15 conditions, that health Commissioner Mary O’Dowd approve the hospital’s application to close the unit. It’s now a waiting game until she makes a final decision on the hospital’s need.
CHRISTIE CITES DEATH OF FRIEND FROM PRESCRIPTION DRUG ABUSE
Describing how deeply affected he was by the recent death of a close friend addicted to pain medication, Gov. Chris Christie urged doctors gathered at a conference today to be more careful about their own habits in prescribing drugs, and to participate in the state’s monitoring program. In what was described as an “impassioned” and “energetic” keynote speech at the Medical Society of New Jersey’s annual meeting in Monroe, the governor said this was the first time he had publicly discussed the death of his friend, whom he did not identify.
NJ LAGS NATION IN MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS
New Jerseyans have greater access than others in the United States to primary care doctors and dentists, but the ratio of mental-health professionals to population in the state is lower than the national average. New Jersey has a lower ratio of mental-health providers compared with the population than the nation as whole. New Jersey has almost 11,000 mental-health providers, which amounts to one for every 826 residents. The national average for the nation’s counties is 753 to 1.