ALBANY – With the state experiencing a worsening crisis of untreated, serious mental illness, New York State Senator George Borrello is pushing legislation that would close gaps in the state’s mental health system.
Borrello is working with Senator Diane Savino to strengthen Kendra’s Law by allowing longer hospital stays for people who fail to follow their court-mandated, assisted outpatient treatment.
He says current law allows for an involuntary, 72-hour hospitalization, a timeframe that is often inadequate to stabilize a patient. In these instances, Borrello’s bill would allow mental health professionals to request longer hospital stays.
Another major component of the legislation would broaden the standard for involuntary hospitalization if an individual’s mental illness renders them unable to meet their own basic needs such as food, shelter, clothing or health care. This is the standard recognized by most other states.
Kendra’s Law is named in honor of Kendra Webdale of Fredonia, who was tragically killed by a man with a long history of schizophrenia in a subway-shoving incident in New York City in 1999. She was a friend and schoolmate of Senator Borrello’s during their years at Fredonia High School.