Costello Visits New Jersey Legislature on Mental Illness Program

Cathy Costello spoke before the New Jersey legislature earlier this week on her successful efforts to help pass the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) bill in Oklahoma.  Costello, who is running for Oklahoma Labor Commissioner, was instrumental in passing the bill after the death of her husband, Mark Costello, at the hands of their mentally-ill son in 2015.

“I want to help other families avoid the tragedy we experienced,” Costello said.  “Mark’s death might have been prevented if, at the time, the courts had the legal resources to intervene with treatment.  Every family has been affected by mental illness to varying degrees and solving this problem begins with being open and honest about it.  Mental illness, and its effects on the community, is a manageable problem with the proper treatment.  The time of silence is over.”

Costello worked with Congress to promote the passage of the federal Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act in 2016.  After the passage of Oklahoma’s AOT bill, also known as the Labor Commissioner Mark Costello Act, Costello recognized Congressman Tom Cole with an award for his work securing federal funding to jump-start Oklahoma’s AOT program.  Lawmakers from across the country are now seeking Costello’s expertise on mental health issues, including the impact of mental illness in the workplace.

“Mental illness is the leading cause of work performance loss, the second-leading cause of absenteeism and accounts for 30% of disability claims,” said Costello.  “In just three years, the leading cause of workplace disability will be mental health issues, not physical injuries.  This is a devastating loss of productivity and we must solve this problem if we want America to prosper in the 21st century.  Everyone has a stake in this crisis whether they know it or not.”

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