The National Alliance on Mental Illness Buffalo and Erie County is inviting the community to a free event Thursday evening at 7 p.m. at Daemen College. It will feature national author and advocate for the seriously mentally ill DJ Jaffe. He will be speaking at Daemen College in Amherst. WBFO's senior reporter reached Jaffe by phone ahead of tonight's appearance to discuss his controversial stance on mental health reform.
Jaffe is executive editor of the Mental Illness Policy and author of Insane Consequences: How the Mental Health Industry Fails the Mentally Ill. Some consider his proposed reforms controversial. Jaffe tells WBFO News the mental health community believes stigma is a barrier to care, but he disagrees.
“They generally say stigma is the most important barrier to care – the homeless psychotic guy, who’s eating out of a dumpster, isn’t avoiding care because he fears what his fellow dumpster diver friends will think of him – he’s avoiding care because there’s no care available for him,” Jaffe declared.
Jaffe says the mental health community needs to fight for more housing for the mentally ill and increase hospital beds to care for them. Jaffe said New York's Kendra's law has been very successful in avoiding incarceration for the mentally ill.