Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Praise and support from medical doctors, mental health groups, and parents whose families have been impacted by mental illness are quickly pouring in from across the country for the Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act:

“Perhaps the most important achievement of the legislation is its convergence of fiscal responsibility with an expansive respect for contemporary mental health science and its borders with public safety, corrections, schools, and the family. The accounting for resources better integrates these systems and technological innovations for those in serious and acute need and with an informed vision.” -- Michael Welner, M.D., a clinical and forensic psychiatrist and Chairman of The Forensic Panel.

“APA appreciates the emphasis you place in this legislation on the provision of evidence-based psychiatric and substance use services, the integration of those services with other health care delivery systems, and the promotion of robust research into serious mental illness.” -- Letter from the American Psychiatric Association

“In the wake of Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, the Navy Yard, and so many other high profile tragedies involving persons with serious mental illness, Representative Tim Murphy is to be congratulated for having the courage to make this bold attempt to improve our obviously broken mental health system.” -- Fred Frese, Ph.D., former first vice-president, National Alliance on Mental Illness

“Rep. Tim Murphy, Pennsylvania Republican, unveiled legislation Thursday he says will help fix nation’s broken mental health system and empower families and individuals to get treatment for those who need it, as lawmakers grapple with possible legislative remedies to help stop gun-related violence.” – TheWashington Times

“Rep. Murphy's bill creates pilot projects and studies for Assisted Outpatient Treatment, better help in the corrections system, and relief from the often-fatal secrecy that HIPAA forces on the families of the mentally ill. All of these things would have made a huge difference in our family's outcome, saving both my mother's life, and my son's adult years of life that will now be wasted in prison. We whole-heartedly support this bill and look forward to the many conversations it will start in cities and states.” -- Ruth Ann Johnston of Gibsonia, PA, mother of Levi Staver, a young man with schizophrenia who stabbed his 76-year-old grandmother, Constance Johnston, to death on February 19 after he believed the archangel Michael commanded him to do so.

“The bill introduced Thursday is a wide-ranging reform proposal that looks at everything from mental-health research to the shortage of mental-health-care providers, especially for children and teenagers where early intervention is critical. Among the key components, the bill would create a new assistant secretary for mental-health and substance-use disorders in the Department of Health and Human Services.” – Wall Street Journal

“The [Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act] would take important steps to ensure that law enforcement officers have the resources they need to properly respond to individuals with mental illness.” -- National Sheriffs’ Association

“Whether we focus on the quality of life, sustenance outside of emergency rooms and inpatient units, reduction of homelessness after all bridges have been burned and the escalating cost of care, true partnership with families of the seriously mentally ill -- engaging them in care and support -- is as important today, if not more so, than during the early days of deinstitutionalization. While recovery is to be applauded, the current lack of support and attention to the role of the family has become a major fault line running below our entire system of care.” -- Johanna Ferman, M.D., Principal, Integrus Health Group and former Deputy Commissioner, NYS Office of Mental Health

“Your child is not homeless. Your child is not incarcerated for years. Your child is not maligned in general by society. Your child's illness is not romanticized or mythologized with ideas like "Madness is Genius." Your child’s illness is not part of the Gun Control debate. Your child is not automatically part of the legal system. Your child does not have a Preventable Tragedies national database. Your child is not a throwaway. Mine is all of these things.” – Laura Pogliano, mother of mentally ill child, Baltimore, MD

“The past eight years have been heartbreaking, stressful and very difficult for my adult child with bipolar 1 with psychosis and our family. Unable to finish school or work due to Serious Mental Illness. Lack of hospital beds, parents difficulty in obtaining health information, unable to obtain hospital admittance in a crisis, being told I'm a bad parent at the ER when my child is delusional and hallucinating then cleared and sent on our way. Suicide attempts from delusions after being sent home from the ER. Prescription drug overdose. Inadequate hospital stays (two days is not nearly enough for a person in psychosis). Congressman Murphy's bill is so important for all families and loved ones living with a Serious Mental Illness. AOTs, proper funding, access to hospitalization will help immensely. Thank you, Congressman Murphy.” -- Rosemary B. DeJoy, Clearwater, FL

Information on the Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717), including bill text, a summary, and additional letters of support, can be viewed here.

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