Laura’s law was enacted in 2002, after 19-year-old college sophomore laura wilcox was shot and killed in January of 2001,
by a man with untreated severe mental illness.
Since then the state law has allowed counties to voluntarily take part in the program.
So far, 19 counties are using it.
Including most recently Shasta County.
“The Shasta County Board of Supervisors did approve it and we’ve been working on it for quite a while,” said Dean True, from Health and Human Services.
Laura’s law works by allowing mental health services to reach out to individuals, Who have a serious mental illness, plus a recent history of psychiatric hospitalizations, jailings or attempts of serious violent behavior.
Then try to get them to voluntarily accept help.
“It’s a lot about making frequent contact with the individual and trying to get them to understand. Their lives could be better , perhaps mental illness is imparing them and that the team that is going to serve them would help improve their lives, “ said True.
So far the county has 20 clients in the program who are getting help.
“Right now we’re beginning the process of referring individuals to Hill Country for Laura’s Law and assisted outpatient care.” said True.
But directors say if they don’t want the help, they can then take it to a court order before a disaster happens.
Much like November’s Rancho Tehama shooting.
Residents that we spoke to there said they felt this law could’ve helped Kevin Neal.
Before he “snapped” .
Killing 5 and inuring 18 others.
But Laura’s Law hasn’t been passed in Tehama County, and members of the “Stand Against Stigma" organization in Shasta County want to remind people that violence is not linked to mental illness.
“The truth about the matter is most people with mental illness do not commit a violent act in their lifetime. But more likely to be victims of violence themselves," said Carrie Diamond.