The Network on Mandated Community Treatment was established to create a scientifically sound evidence base for developing effective policy and practice on whether, and how, to require certain people with mental disorders to adhere to treatment in the community.

Objectives

How should we deal with people in our communities who suffer from severe mental illness but do not adhere to the treatment that is offered to them? The question has engendered an intense policy debate on the legitimacy of laws mandating adherence to treatment in the community.  Because the debate has been framed as an issue of public safety and the risk of violence, policymakers often select the most coercive form of mandated community treatment — involuntary outpatient commitment — without considering alternative measures to manage risk and promote treatment, and sometimes without knowing whether appropriate care is even available in the community.

Policymakers do face difficult choices as they attempt to balance concerns about public safety, the individual’s right to refuse treatment, and fiscal responsibility. But without a scientific assessment of the field — including the effectiveness and efficiency of alternative approaches — rational discourse is impossible. The Network on Mandated Community Treatment was established to create a scientifically sound evidence base for developing effective policy and practice on whether, and how, to require certain people with mental disorders to adhere to treatment in the community. 

Health, Policy, Research