Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rep. Murphy Responds to Santa Barbara Mass Shooting

Announces Public Forum For This Thursday on Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act to Aid Those In Psychiatric Need

For Immediate Release: Saturday, May 24, 2014
Contact: Brad Grantz202.225.2301

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA) released the following statement regarding the mass shooting in Santa Barbara County, California.
“Our hearts break for the victims and families affected by the tragedy near Santa Barbara. We pray for their souls to find peace. But I am also angered because once again, our mental health system has failed and more families have been destroyed because Washington hasn’t had the courage to fix it. How many more people must lose their lives before we take action on addressing cases of serious mental illness? I put forth a solution with my Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” he said. “Washington must take action on my bill.”
Murphy, Chairman of the Oversight & Investigations Subcommittee of the House Committee on Energy & Commerce, will hold a briefing on Thursday to highlight the committee’s recent reportwhich was released following a yearlong investigation reviewing the mental health resources and programs across the federal spectrum. The committee’s investigation began in January 2013, following the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, and against the backdrop of subsequent mass killings tied to untreated SMI at the Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., and Fort Hood, Texas. The briefing will take place on Thursday, May 29, 2014, at 12:30 p.m in room 2322 of the Rayburn House Office Building and streamed live online here.
Chairman Murphy, a clinical psychologist, along with a handful of experts and families with lived experiences will participate in a discussion on the findings from the committee’s recent report and other developments related to the treatment of serious mental illness. 
The report explains, “The committee’s inquiry has drawn attention to the importance of targeting funds for mental health to areas with the greatest impacts on public health and safety. … The findings of the committee’s investigation underscore the need to improve training for law enforcement and emergency medical services personnel on mental health issues.”
Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act has been described as the most comprehensive overhaul of the mental health system since the Kennedy Administration. With a focus on delivering acute psychiatric care to the most challenging cases of serious mental illness, it also includes provisions to expand access to inpatient and outpatient psychiatric treatment, training for law enforcement and first responders to understand how and when to properly intervene when a person is experiencing a mental health crisis. Murphy’s bill also encourages states to adopt a “need for treatment” standard of commitment rather than the imminent danger standard and breaks down convoluted legal barriers preventing family members from helping a loved one with a serious mental illness.
Murphy authored the bipartisan Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act following a year-long investigation into the nation’s broken mental health system. Nationwide support for his legislation has come from newspaper editorsphysiciansand parents of children with mental illness.

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