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From an email from the Licenced Professional Counselors Association

There has been a bill before the legislature (SB 65) which would provide more professional mental health resouces, in the form of increased "power" for professional counselors, like yours truly.

Specifically that would mean the ability to sign a "1013", a form authorizing transfer of a person meeting such criteria (usually dangerous to self or others) for psychiatric observation up to 72 hours. LPC's have a minimum of a master's degree 3-4 years internship/associate practice and full licensure after that time. I have a master's a licence and 30 years experience. I should be able to sign a 1013 on somebody who needs it. Instead I have to either find somebody to do it, or coax them into going voluntarily.

This has historically been the responsibility mainly of MD's, Advanced practice RN's,, licensed psychologists and social workers (LCSWs). Why LPC's - Licenced professional counselors - aren't already granted this responsibility is a mystery to. I don't pay attention the political machinations of all this.

At issue is that many counties in Georgia have no such people practicing and the nearest resource may be a county or 2 away. This creates recurring headaches and nightmares for law enforcement, families and other folks when people are in need of psychiatric attention 'now' and its just not there.

Over the filigree to see what this has to do with guns....

The Language of the bill:

A BILL to be entitled an Act to amend Title 37 of the Official Code of Georgia Annotated, relating to mental health, so as to authorize a licensed professional counselor to perform certain acts which physicians, psychologists, and others are authorized to perform regarding emergency examinations of persons who are mentally ill or alcoholic or drug dependent; to define certain terms; to require a licensed professional counselor to secure certification to perform certain acts from the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities; to provide for related matters; to repeal conflicting laws; and for other purposes.
From the email:
The 2013 Legislation Session has ended.

The House of Representatives did not bring Senate Bill 65 to a vote.

This year is part of a two year legislation cycle, which means our bill is dormant. This will give LPCs the opportunity to meet their Representative at their home office and visit their Sheriffs.

Everyone did an amazing job calling, emailing, and visiting the Capital, which is why the bill made it all the way to the House of Representatives Calendar for a vote.

The last opposition was the Gun Bill Advocates which fueled the belief that adding more mental health professionals to have the ability to 1013 will mean more hospitalizations. The Gun Bill included language that specified if a person was involuntarily hospitalized they could not get a gun permit.

Interesting, psychologically.

We joke sometimes about some of the more rabid gun lobby fearing these checks because they themselves may get snared and this could be presented as a more concrete example of that.

So...we want to let people who maybe oughtta at least be checked out for some reason (dangerous behaviors) have more access to buying a firearm?

Really?

I'll be talking with my representatives and some sheriffs about this.

Originally posted to Toking Points Memo on Thu Mar 28, 2013 at 07:04 PM PDT.

Also republished by Kos Georgia, Shut Down the NRA, and Repeal or Amend the Second Amendment (RASA).

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