It will be 11 years ago today (Jan 10th) that Mental Health Patient Scott Allan Thorpe walked into the Nevada County H-E-W Building for an appointment with his therapist, but when he approached the attendant instead of registering he produced a 9mm handgun and began firing. 19 year old Laura Wilcox, a college student picking up some part time work while home on winter break was killed instantly, one of three people who would die that day from Thorpe’s rampage. Nick and Amanda Wilcox, Laura’s parents have taken their family tragedy to become a force for change in the mental health system by pushing for Laura’s Law.
“Laura’s Law is intended to get people who are severely mentally ill into what’s called assisted outpatient treatment. The idea is to try and provide services before people decompensate to the point where they need to be involuntarily hospitalized.”
Laura’s law was passed in 2002, but Nevada County is the only county in the state to fully implement it, as part of a settlement agreement between the Wilcox family and the county. The county has used money from proposition 63, the 2004 initiative that raised income taxes on millionaires to pay for mental health care to implement Laura’s Law. The Wilcox’s say since Laura’s Law went into effect in the county there have been 32 referrals and 9 court orders under the law to get people into treatment.