Thank you for responding. You are correct about my experience with schizophrenia, and I deeply appreciate the fact that you yourself are familiar with the subject and your advice on how to persuade.
Just tonight, I found an article that shed another light on the situation. The state that I live in has a Mental Health law that does not allow court-ordered outpatient treatment, which is available in 41 other states. It also requires someone to be an immediate danger to themselves or others before there is any court intervention, and only for a period of 72 hours.
The problems are twofold. One, if family or friends see that someone they know is schizophrenic, that they show the signs, the tendency toward suicide, but is deemed not to be an imminent danger to themselves or others, they can't be committed. Two, if someone is committed, the law permits them to check themselves out and go home. Imagine family and friends breathing a sigh of relief to see that they will receive care and the horror they experience as they are released with no strings attached, with no order to stay on medication.
Perhaps this is something to take issue: encouraging reform for my state's law, to make court-ordered outpatient treatment mandatory. One statistic I've read is that there are more than three times as many people with severe mental illness in my state's jails as there are in state psychiatric hospitals.
I feel opposed to many of the extreme forms of modern medical treatment but, like you said, I am torn. My personal experience has to do with this very law that we tried to make use of because, no matter how we tried, we could not help someone in our family. We called on the Mental Health law after the person attempted suicide by overdosing on antidepressants, but this person, who was mentally ill, lied and said that it was an accident and that they needed to leave and go back to work. Without us being notified, the person was allowed to leave. That person later succeeded in their second attempt. Perhaps if they had been ordered by a judge to undergo treatment, that person would still be alive, totally regardless of any feelings I have toward modern medicine.
Maybe this is a topic that is way too big to handle in a seven-minute speech! But I think the core subject will help people to see that it is a problem, not so much about public safety, but the safety of the people who suffer themselves from schizophrenia and end up with no help of any kind. What do you think?