Texans for Accountable Government
Testimony of Justin Arman of Texans for Accountable Government
IN OPPOSITION to SB359,
Before the Senate Health and Human Services Committee Members
March 25th, 2015
I’m grateful to address this committee so that I may express why Texans for Accountable Government, and I, in a personal capacity, strongly oppose SB359.
I’m a father and business owner, so I can only make it to the Capitol when I identify threats to liberty, and when I feel that the most vulnerable among us are being put in harm’s way.
Many of us have experienced depression and high-levels of stress and anxiety, where at some point, in moments of weakness and when our emotions take over, we may be looked upon by a third party as mentally unwell. Some of us decide to seek professional help: the right amount of compassion and sometimes the right medicine will help us stabilize and overcome hurdles to our mental wellbeing.
Those suffering need a safe place to go for help, and SB359 removes the sanctity of trust we expect from ERs and hospitals.
In this bill, a person who voluntarily admits himself into one of these facilities – even if he decides to leave before his examination – may be detained against his will for 4 hours by law enforcement or hospital staff on mere suspicion of mental illness.
Picture this being enforced and know that it will be an ugly and horrific experience for the very person seeking help; this adds salt to their wounds.
How many people will stop seeking help because they’ll know that even the hospital staff will have the ability to arbitrarily recommend that they be detained? As someone that suffers from depression, I may be one of them. I will not go to a facility that has the power to detain me. And why should I allow my children to go to such an unsafe place?
Mental illness is not defined in this bill nor should it be. It is not the role of government to diagnose conditions, nor is it the role of government to give authority to health practitioners to detain individuals who are voluntarily seeking help.
Texans for Accountable Government strongly oppose this bill and we hope that you’ll consider those that will be harmed; they may very well be your family members, or even you.
With respect and gratitude for your consideration.