ASSISTED OUTPATIENT THERAPY WORKS
Contrary to false claims to the contrary, AOT is a proven option to improve treatment outcomes for people with serious mental illness whose difficulties adhering to voluntary outpatient care.
Case Study: The Michigan Experience
Michigan has some of the best laws in the nation for assisted outpatient treatment (AOT). Effective AOT programs and systems will help ensure individuals receive high-quality services in the community and work toward transitioning back to voluntary care. Every part of the system of care plays a uniquely important role in an effective AOT program, including courts, mental health providers, hospitals, families and advocates, individuals, and law enforcement.
History of AOT in Michigan
Assisted outpatient treatment in Michigan law began as a package of bills called "Kevin's Law". Kevin Heisinger, a 24-year-old student at U of M, was killed in a Kalamazoo bus station by Brian Williams, an individual living with schizophrenia (paranoid type) in 2000. Prior to killing Kevin, Williams had repeated contact with law enforcement and numerous psychiatric hospitalizations due to his non-adherence with psychiatric treatment. In response, the Michigan Legislature passed assisted outpatient legislation dubbed "Kevin's Law" which went into effect in 2005.
AOT laws are a part of the mental health code, a compilation of Michigan laws governing the delivery of mental health services. AOT laws were revised in 2017 & 2019, bringing the law up to date with best practices. Changes made to the law permit earlier intervention by eliminating the "threat of imminent harm and danger to self or others". Additionally, updates provided a new process to secure outpatient treatment without hospitalization, and introduced mediation to gain adherence to treatment.
To learn more about the history of AOT in Michigan, check out the Courts training videos.