Thursday, August 25, 2016
"This week, I have seen 12 individuals who needed care at Moccasin Bend [the state mental health facility], but they can't get in, so we try to keep them in a jail cell. Some are dangerous, some have committed stabbings or robberies, but most often they have mental health issues entwined with drugs and alcohol." - Judge Gary Starnes, who backed the project, said too many people he sees in his courtroom have significant mental health issues but no place to go for treatment. Read here: 88 BEDS INSTEAD OF JAIL
Posted by Karen Easter, advocate #TB4T at 8:09 AM
Thursday, August 18, 2016
This article describes what AOT could look like in our own community: compassionate care of Tennessee's neediest, sickest citizens. I witnessed this firsthand last night under the I-40 bridge in Knoxville, feeding our homeless neighbors. Out of 200, probably 3/4 had notable mental illness. AOT could help them. Tennesseans, we need an AOT law! Tennessee remains as one of only 4 states in our nation without AOT on the books.
Posted by Karen Easter, advocate #TB4T at 9:46 AM
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Mayor Burchett sounds off, and rightly so. Mayor Burchett angry at states failure to help mentally ill.
Posted by Karen Easter, advocate #TB4T at 7:41 AM
Sunday, August 14, 2016
Four years ago MANY advocates, including myself, attended local meetings to oppose Lakeshore's closure and we are still out here advocating for changes in TN law that would allow timely, effective treatment for the seriously mentally ill. NOTHING HAS CHANGED ... except now our Knox Co and Knoxville leaders are seeing the consequences of closing our only regional psychiatric hospital and realizing it was a BIG MISTAKE to do so!
Posted by Karen Easter, advocate #TB4T at 7:50 AM
Wednesday, July 6, 2016
* * * BREAKING * * *
Murphy’s Crisis Mental Health Bill Passes House
Near Unanimous Vote in favor of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act
(WASHINGTON, DC) Congressman Tim Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) passed the House on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016.
“This historic vote closes a tragic chapter in our nation’s treatment of serious mental illness and welcomes a new dawn of help and hope,” said Congressman Murphy. “We are ending the era of stigma. Mental illness is no longer a joke, considered a moral defect and a reason to throw people in jail. No longer will we discharge the mentally ill out of the emergency room to the family and say ‘Good luck, take care of your loved one, we’ve done all the law will allow.’ Today the House voted to deliver treatment before tragedy.”
Considered the most comprehensive reform of the mental health system in the past half century, the bill earned 207 bipartisan cosponsors in advance of the historic vote on the House Floor and garnered endorsements from news outlets, mental health advocates, physicians and families of individuals with mental illness from across the country.
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act focuses resources where they are most needed to foster evidence-based care, fix the shortage of psychiatric hospital beds, empower caregivers under HIPAA privacy laws to allow for compassionate communication, bring accountability to mental health spending and help patients get treatment well before their illness spirals into crisis.
In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Congressman Murphy led the multi-year effort to reform the nation’s failing mental health care system. The Energy and Commerce Committee took the historic step last month by passing Congressman Murphy's legislation by a unanimous vote of 53-0 and set the stage for the vote today on the floor to overhaul the failed system for the first time in more than half a century.
“To every family member, the tens of thousands who reached out to me, who stepped forward to share their story and be a voice for change, my deepest gratitude for your courageous stand to help families in mental health crisis,” said Murphy.
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646 passed with a near unanimous vote of 422-2. The overwhelming vote in the House is expected to break the logjam on considering mental health reform legislation in the Senate. Murphy pledged to continue working the bill all the way to the President’s desk for signature.
Posted by Karen Easter, advocate #TB4T at 6:08 PM