Thursday, June 12, 2014

Louisiana Legislature Passes Resolution Urging Passage of Murphy's Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Contact: Brad Grantz202.225.2301

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The Louisiana State Legislature formally passed a resolution through both chambers urging enactment of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 3717). Congressman Tim Murphy (R-PA), a clinical psychologist with thirty years’ experience, introduced H.R. 3717 following a year-long investigation of the nation’s health system that he conducted as Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.

With nearly 90 bipartisan cosponsors, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act has been endorsed by numerous newspaper editorial boards, physician groups, and countless parents and caregivers of loved ones with serious mental illnesses. Unlike other legislative efforts that have been in the behavioral wellness realm, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act tackles the needs of persons with serious mental illnesses, such as chronic and persistent schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and major clinical depression. This subset of the mentally ill are often unaware of their own illness, and are less likely to be self-motivated to seek care, often resist treatment, reject the support of family, friends and peers, and are at highest risk for deterioration leading to incarceration, suicide, homelessness, and violence.

Congressman Murphy thanked State Representative Henry L. Burns for his leadership in moving the resolution, which can be read here, through the Louisiana State House and Senate.

“I congratulate Rep. Burns for his courageous efforts in tackling this issue and his accomplishment in getting his resolution passed through the Louisiana legislature. The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act rebuilds the broken health system by delivering acute psychiatric treatment to those who need it the most, but have been getting it the least. By working together at the state and federal levels, we will finally take mental illness out of the shadows of ignorance, despair, and neglect and into the bright light of hope and recovery,” said Rep. Tim Murphy (PA-18).

First, I want to thank Congressman Tim Murphy for his bold and timely initiative addressing this very important issue of mental health by bringing it out of the shadows. We can no longer ignore its impact on family life and it is a necessary first step in embracing this misunderstood, but in many cases, a treatable condition. I am encouraged and grateful that we, at last, are moving forward and the hope that it will bring to millions of families,” said State Representative Henry L. Burns (District 9, Louisiana).

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Background on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act:
Murphy conducted a year-long investigation that included a dozen forums and hearings, hundreds of interviews with providers, patients, and parents, and countless hours of investigative staff work . A report released last month by the Subcommittee documented the failures of the current mental health system to help individuals with serious mental illness. These findings were crafted into the bipartisan Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which was introduced in December 2013. Nationwide support for the legislation has come from newspaper editorsphysiciansand parents of children with mental illness.
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.

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