Bill allows judges to order treatment

Too often, the mentally ill do not receive the help they need, even when it is apparent they are threats to themselves and/or others. A new study of the school massacre in Newtown, Conn., last December concludes that many people, including his mother, knew killer Adam Lanza was dangerously unbalanced – but no one seemed to know what to do about it.

Part of the problem is that judges called upon to deal with the mentally ill often are reluctant to order they be committed involuntarily to treatment facilities. That is understandable both from a civil liberties standpoint and because of the cost of mental hospital care.

A bill approved last week by the Ohio House of Representatives could help.

Approved by a vote of 87 lawmakers in favor to just six against, the measure would allow judges to order outpatient treatment for the mentally ill who appear before them. Currently, the only option is to send such defendants to mental hospitals.

If approved, the change will ensure some mentally ill Ohioans get treatment, whether they want it or not, that may prevent them from harming themselves or others

State senators should approve the bill and Gov. John Kasich should sign it into law – for the good of both those who are mentally unbalanced and Ohioans whose safety may be jeopardized by them.

Christmas is just days away. No doubt many area residents wish they had more time to prepare.

There is so much to do, after all. There are gifts to buy, Christmas cards to be sent, holiday meals to prepare, visits to family and friends to plan, and on and on.

But wait a moment. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, have you forgotten anything? Helping the less fortunate, perhaps?

If you have donated money, food, toys, clothing or time to an organization providing Christmas gifts, meals or other assistance, God bless you!

If you have not, there still is time.

Dozens of charitable organizations and special Christmas campaigns still need help to meet their goals for this year. Your donation may make the difference between every child getting something nice on Christmas morning and some being turned away.

This is not the season to allow that to happen.

Don’t put the thought aside until you “have time.” At your first opportunity on Monday, make a donation to one of the Christmas charities.

Trust us on this: Your help will make Christmas merrier for you and yours.