Saturday, December 20, 2014

Rep. Murphy:‘How many more must die before we fix our broken mental health system?’

cid:image001.gif@01CE6085.30391FD0Tim Murphy
U.S. Congressman for the 18th District of Pennsylvania

Rep. Murphy:‘How many more must die before we fix our broken mental health system?’
Emerging Info Reveals Former Marine in Mental Health Crisis

For Immediate Release: Thursday, December 18, 2014
Contact: Brad Grantz202.225.2301

(PITTSBURGH, PA)  Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) announced he will be working with House Veterans Affairs Chairman Jeff Miller on Miller’s review of the recent mass killing perpetrated by former Marine Bradley Stone. According to media reports, Stone had been evaluated and cleared of having suicidal or homicidal tendencies by a Department of Veterans Affairs psychiatrist just days before he killed his ex-wife and five of her family members near suburban Philadelphia this week.

“Before there was Bradley Stone, there was Elliot Rodger in Santa Barbara, Jared Loughner in Tucson, James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado, and Aaron Alexis at the Washington Navy Yard. How many more must die before we finally deal with our broken mental health system?”

“Sadly, what happened to this family near Philadelphia was another preventable tragedy. The mental health system knew Stone was suffering from serious and persistent mental illness, but for some reason, the VA failed to intervene and lives have been lost as a result. In many cases, families know a loved one is in a mental health crisis and their condition is deteriorating, but as my Subcommittee investigation showed, these families are excluded from being part of the care delivery team because of a confusing patchwork of state and federal laws. I am thankful Chairman Miller is examining this case and encourage his review to cover whether warning signs of Stone’s mental illness, such as information from his family members and his Facebook postings, were known by the VA and others who were in the position to prevent this awful episode of familicide from occurring.”

Background on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act:
Stone reportedly did not meet Pennsylvania’s standard of involuntary commitment threshold, which requires an individual to be “imminently” homicidal or suicidal to be kept for medical treatment. Rep. Murphy’s groundbreaking bipartisan legislation, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, would address the commitment standard so families and clinicians can intervene when an individual with serious mental illness is in need of immediate medical care.

Nationwide support for Dr. Murphy’s legislation continues to grow from newspaper editorsphysiciansand parents of children with mental illness. The legislation includes provisions to increase hospital beds and proper care while decreasing criminalization for people with serious types of mental illness; reform the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) to increase family access to information and eliminate barriers to communication between families and providers; permit federal Medicaid dollars to be used to pay for acute inpatient psychiatric treatment by creating an exception to the current Institutions for Mental Diseases (IMD) exclusion in Medicaid; expand effective Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) services; increase funding to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH); re-appropriate the budget of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to increase support for programs designed to help those with the most severe cases of mental illness.
  
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Beginning this January, Rep. Tim Murphy will enter his seventh term representing Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, which encompasses suburban Pittsburgh and parts of Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland and Greene Counties. Rep. Murphy also serves as a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps as a psychologist treating Wounded Warriors with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury. Prior to serving in Congress, Dr. Murphy, author of “The Angry Child” and “Overcoming Passive-Aggression,” was a practicing psychologist specializing in child and family treatment. 

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