Jeanne Gore, Yaicha Provencher and Joe Pickering Jr.: Gabe Damour’s death was the worst nightmare come true for families like ours
This op-ed is in response to a Dec. 12 article by Sun Journal reporter Emily Bader, “Advocacy groups rebuke calls to expand Maine’s progressive treatment program.”
Gabriel Damour, killed on Thanksgiving morning in Poland, didn’t have to die. His brother, Justin Butterfield, has been charged with his murder. Justin suffers from schizophrenia and, according to his ex-girlfriend and mother of his children, Yaicha Provencher, he seemed to have no awareness of his illness.
More mental health advocacy groups are speaking out against Maine’s so-called progressive treatment program following Gabe’s murder.
Maine’s Progressive Treatment Program (PTP), enacted in 2010, if utilized, would have likely prevented this tragedy. The PTP is compassionate treatment for those with brain disorders who have no awareness of their illness. It’s essentially a court order that allows people to be ordered into treatment in the community. Under the PTP, if their illness becomes worse, they can be brought to a hospital before they become a danger to themselves or others, before tragedy occurs.
Announcing the Introduction of a Bill to Accept the IMD Waiver for SMI as the State has Already Done for SUD
Allay the Concerns presented by those Opposed to the PTP Program
and IMD Waiver for SMI
NSSC members Jeanne Gore, Senator John Nutting, and Joe Pickering, Jr who hosted a press conference in Augusta on December 5th as well as many other family members and parents all across the state of Maine, are excited to announce the introduction of a bill for next legislative session to accept the IMD waiver for SMI. “We are very excited that this bill has already attracted bipartisan sponsors," said Joe Pickering, Jr. from Bangor.
State Senator Joe Baldacci, State Senator Rick Bennett, and Representative Ambureen Rana have all already agreed to sponsor this bill. “The IMD Exclusion is the most blatant discrimination against people suffering from illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression I can think of,” Jeanne Gore of Gardiner, added. It’s time for Maine to recognize this and take action to bring the treatment these people deserve.
We would like to also allay the concerns presented by those opposed to this bill:
We all agree that the Mental Healthcare system is broken. It’s time for all of us to come together to build a system that doesn’t leave anyone behind. It’s time to build a system where everyone with serious brain illnesses can receive equitable, compassionate, collaborative treatment and support that enable them to live their best lives.
We invite all stakeholders along with Governor Mills to meet with us at Governor Mills earliest convenience. Please contact Jeanne Gore at 603-969-3135 or via email at email@example.com to express your interest in attending a meeting to solve this humanitarian crisis.
With Gratitude and Hope,
Jeanne Gore, Coordinator
Co-Chair Steering Committee
National Shattering Silence Coalition
Senator John Nutting
Joe Pickering, Jr.
NSSC is a nonpartisan alliance of family members, individuals suffering from serious brain disorders (SBD), professionals in the trenches, and caring people united to ensure that brain illness, health, and criminal justice systems count those with SBD, and their families in all federal, state, and local policy reforms. We are voices for the 14.2 million adults and 8 million children living with and dying too young from serious brain disorders.
NSSC supports a right to treatment before tragedy for all age groups living with serious brain disorders commonly known as "serious mental illnesses". We envision a world in which people with serious brain illnesses can receive equitable, compassionate, collaborative treatment and support that enable them to live their best lives.