Thursday, December 3, 2015

WSJ Urges Congress To Advance Murphy's HR 2646

Editorial Board publishes 

"The Next Mad Gunman"

For Immediate Release: November 30, 2015
Contact: Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington, D.C.) – The Wall Street Journal editorial board today published a piecehighlighting Congressman Tim Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646, crisis mental health legislation that requires SAMHSA to focus on evidence-based care and fixes HIPAA to allow medical professionals and family members to share critical information regarding their loved ones’ mental health treatment. 
The Next Mad GunmanEditorial Board
Wall Street Journal
November 29, 2015, 6:15pm

If the reaction to Friday’s mass shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs follows the Washington script, it will go something like this: Amid the public mourning will come the fights over gun control, and then nothing. Congress can change that cycle of intellectual poverty by shaking up federal mental-health policy.
A law enforcement official says the suspect, 57-year-old Robert Lewis Dear, made a remark about “no more baby parts” after his arrest, which suggests an anti-abortion motivation for the shooting. But even the initial reporting on Mr. Dear’s life shows that he is a longtime malcontent who believed the government was out to get him. We may find he suffered from paranoid delusions—that is, mental illness.
As it happens, this month a House subcommittee passed one of the more consequential bills of this Republican majority—the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Recent mass killers have nearly all had some kind of mental illness, yet few received proper treatment. One reason is a national mental-health system that has been ruined by 50 years of bad policy and oversight, and that fails to identify and help the severely ill. Representative Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) spent more than a year investigating the dysfunction and writing an overhaul.
Mr. Murphy’s problem now is politics. Democrats once seemed interested in a bipartisan bill, but of late the left has decided that mental illness is a diversion from its gun-control agenda. President Obama set the tone after the recent shooting in Roseburg, Oregon, claiming that the “majority” of these shooters are “angry, young men” with access to an “arsenal.” Plaintiffs lawyers and the anti-psychiatry movement have mobilized against Mr. Murphy’s reform.
The opposition comes despite Mr. Murphy’s efforts at compromise. His original bill denied federal funds to the slightly less than half of the states that lack “need for treatment” standards in their involuntary commitment laws, which give family and doctors more ability to assist the seriously ill. It would also have denied money to five states that don’t have assisted-outpatient treatment laws, which let courts require the mentally ill to receive treatment as a condition of remaining in a community.
Mr. Murphy has since modified the bill to give states an incentive to make these changes by offering more grant money to those that do. But a liberal phalanx led by New Jersey’s Frank Pallone is resisting any effort to require treatment for the dangerously ill, preferring to let those in the middle of psychotic episodes decide their own (non)care.
Democrats also misrepresent the bill to claim it eviscerates privacy protections. The reform does change federal rules to allow medical professionals and family members to share more information, though very narrowly. The changes would only apply to people diagnosed with a handful of severe illnesses—like schizophrenia. Even then it limits the sharing to basic “medical” information—the diagnosis, medications, a treatment plan. Psychiatrists are still barred from sharing “therapy notes” in which patients talk about how they feel. Democrats here are aiding the trial-lawyer lobby, which loves filing privacy lawsuits.
Liberals also object that Mr. Murphy would overhaul and impose spending oversight on the wayward Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Samhsa blows $3.6 billion a year on “prevention” programs for the “worried well,” with such investments as anti-bullying coloring books and “anxiety” programs. It scorns medically driven care and is in thrall to an anti-psychiatry movement that opposes drug treatment in favor of patient “empowerment.”
Mr. Murphy’s bill requires Samhsa to focus on evidence-driven care, and Democrats are using this to claim that the bill will cut vital money for prevention and substance-abuse programs. The Murphy bill does attempt to steer more dollars toward the severely ill, but it still makes room for other priorities—so long as advocates can demonstrate effectiveness. Samhsa’s agenda is to keep the cash flowing without accountability.
Mr. Murphy’s bill has 162 co-sponsors, including 45 Democrats. California’s Anna Eshoo, Illinois’s Bobby Rush and Pennsylvania’s Mike Doyle support gun control but aren’t using that as an excuse to ignore the urgent need for mental-health reform. Oregon’s Kurt Schrader is the only Democrat on the subcommittee to put his constituents ahead of partisanship and vote for the Murphy reform.
These Democrats are way ahead of some Republicans, who object to involuntary commitment for the mentally ill, despite overwhelming evidence of the risks to society and the sick. GOP leaders have also failed to make this a priority. Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton has been reluctant to move the bill past Mr. Pallone, the ranking Democrat on his committee.
A disturbed loner like Mr. Dear might be untreatable by any medical system, but some future young man might be stoppable with proper mental treatment. Congress should do what it can to make this more likely.


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Tampa Tribune: HR 2646 ‘Good For The Country’

Ed Board Urges: “Confront Our Mental Health Crisis” Following Shooting in Colorado Springs  

For Immediate Release: December 1, 2015
Contact: Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington, D.C.) –The Tampa Tribune calls on Congress to reach across party lines and advance Congressman Tim Murphy’s landmark Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646, in an editorial board endorsement published today. The editors write how the crisis mental health legislation will increase funding for brain research, promote tele-psychiatry and increase the number of psychiatric beds by modifying the antiquated “Institutions For Mental Diseases” exclusion in Medicaid, allowing for more patients to receive mental health treatment before a tragedy occurs.  

Editorial: Confront Our Mental Health Crisis 
Editorial Board
December 1, 2015
President Obama obviously is going to push another futile effort to enact stronger gun laws in the aftermath of last week’s shooting at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs. His time would be better spent working with Congress on mental health legislation, where progress could be made.
But that won’t happen if Obama’s initial reaction is any indication. He immediately focused on guns after the shooting that killed three people, including a police officer: “We can’t let it become normal. If we truly care about this — if we’re going to offer up our thoughts and prayers again, for God knows how many times, with a truly clean conscience — then we have to do something about the easy accessibility of weapons of war on our streets to people who have no business wielding them. Period. Enough is enough.”
Some revised regulations may be justified, but new gun laws are not going to get anywhere with the country divided over their necessity and the Republican Congress opposed to them. 
In contrast, consensus might be reached on a critical issue related to mass shootings: mental health.
Yet Obama and the Democrats, so far, have not rallied to adopt the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act proposed by Rep. Tom Murphy, a Pennsylvania Republican.
In many of the nation’s mass shootings, the killers were mentally deranged. There are few cases of average citizens suddenly going on a rampage because they have access to guns.
The suspect in the Colorado shooting is a case in point. He was an eccentric loner who babbled incoherently about government plots.
Murphy, who visited the Tribune editorial board last year with U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis to talk about the bill, told us he began studying the nation’s flawed mental health system after Adam Lanza gunned down 20 first-graders and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012. Lanza was mentally ill but refused to take his medication.
Mental illness was a factor in the shootings at the Aurora movie theater; Virginia Tech; the Tucson shooting that severely wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; Columbine and many others.
The proposal by Murphy, a psychologist, would lift a 16-bed cap in cases where Medicaid funds the care. It would promote “tele-psychiatry” to connect pediatricians and other physicians with mental health professionals in areas where patients have no or limited access to such care. It would increase brain research funding.
The legislation would encourage, with increased grants, states to adopt standards to allow for the involuntary commitment of the mentally ill who are a threat to others.
Murphy also would reform the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, bringing more accountability and seeking to ensure tax dollars were spent on effective therapies.
Improved mental health care won’t eliminate the threat of mass shootings. Racism, religious prejudice and religious zealotry, domestic violence, political extremism and many other factors contribute to the violence. But providing treatment for those with serious mental issues would undoubtedly prevent at least some individuals from reaching a murderous breaking point.
And as Murphy points out, improving mental health treatment also would reduce the rates of suicide, crime and homelessness.
Washington’s partisan divide shouldn’t stop members of both parties from seeing that the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act would be good for the country.
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BREAKING: HR 2646 Moves To Top of House Agenda

For Immediate Release: December 2, 2015
Contact: Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Tim Murphy’s (R-PA) landmark crisis mental health legislation, The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, continues to make headlines across the country this week as Speaker Paul D. Ryan voiced his support for H.R. 2646 as a necessary piece of legislation needed to fix our broken mental health system. 
Ryan Calls for Mental-Health Overhaul After Planned Parenthood Shooting 
The Wall Street Journal
December 1, 2015
Mr. Ryan pointed to legislation from Rep. Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) that would increase the number of inpatient psychiatric beds in the U.S., expand the mental-health workforce and authorize an early-intervention program, among other things. The House Energy and Commerce Committee is expected to consider the bill soon. Mr. Murphy said his bill would enable those with mental illness to receive treatment sooner, making them less likely to become engaged in violent acts. – Kristina Peterson, Wall Street Journal
Paul Ryan Pushes Changes in Mental Health Care After Colorado Shooting New York Times 
December 1, 2015
Representative Tim Murphy, the Pennsylvania Republican who is a clinical psychologist and who introduced the bill, spent a year conducting research on the system after the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. He carried out that study at the request of House Republican leaders; his bill is under consideration by the House Energy and Commerce Committee. – Emmarie Huetteman and Richard Perez-Pena 
Ryan’s nod could get mental health legislation moving Washington Post  
December 1, 2015
“Clearly we can do more, and one common denominator in these tragedies is mental illness, and that is why we need to look at fixing our nation’s mental illness health system,” Ryan said, pointing to a reform bill authored by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) now awaiting final action in the Energy and Commerce Committee. “I’m sure that members of both parties have lots of ideas in this area, but we should make this a priority to prevent the violence and to protect our citizens.” – Mike DeBonis, Washington Post
GOP focuses on mental health after Colo. Shooting USA Today 
December 1, 2015
Mental illness causes tens of thousands of death a year through suicide, drug overdoses, and a range of ailments that afflict homeless people with mental illness, Murphy told USA TODAY Tuesday. "For the longest time these people and these families lived in that shadows and Congress like the rest of the country ignored them," Murphy said. The need to change the mental health system "is not about the shootings," Murphy said, "but if that's what gets people's attention, gets them to wake up, maybe (the victims) will not have died in vain." Murphy was a psychologist before being elected to Congress and is co-chair of its Mental Health Caucus.– Paul Singer, USA Today
Paul Ryan: 'Clearly we can do more' to address mental health 
December 1, 2015
The Speaker pointed to legislation crafted by Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Tim Murphy, a clinical psychologist, that overhauls the mental health system and aims to get treatment earlier to those who could pose a danger to others. Murphy's bill is currently being considered by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, but some House GOP members want additional changes made to it before the House votes on it. The number two House Democrat, Rep Steny Hoyer of Maryland, agreed that focusing on mental health was an appropriate response to what happened in Colorado, but added there were concerns about "privacy rights" in the Murphy bill and said Republicans should work on a bipartisan proposal. –  Deirdre Walsh,
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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Murphy’s Mental Health Bill Reforms A "National Emergency"

For Immediate Release: November 23, 2015
Contact: Murphy Press, 202.225.2301 

(Washington, D.C.) – The Sarasota Herald-Tribune published an editorial yesterday calling on Congress to respond to Rep. Tim Murphy’s landmark Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646, noting how the bill streamlines programs, promotes interagency collaboration and forces the SAMHSA to more actively assess and coordinate programs.

With 165 co-sponsors H.R. 2646 has garnered endorsements from national organizations including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Treatment Advocacy CenterAmerican Academy of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryAmerican Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association among many others. Nationwide support for the legislation has come from newspaper editorsphysicians, and parents of children with mental illness. More information can be found here.

Editorial: Bill targets mental health crisis 
Editorial Board 
Sarasota Herald Tribune 
November 22, 2015
The lack of a cost-effective mental health care system in the United States results in outcomes that are both painfully hidden and obvious.

We wrote those words in August 2014, after a leading advocate of reforming that system visited Sarasota. Rep. Tim Murphy, a Republican from Pennsylvania, used the occasion to tout the "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act."

The bill didn't pass, and the system's outcomes have become even more painfully obvious.

- Local governments in Manatee and Sarasota counties have increasingly cited mental illnesses, and inadequate care, as substantial contributors to chronic adult homelessness. Some experts estimate that, nationwide, at least one-third of homeless adults have a mental illness.

- Reports in the Herald-Tribune underscored the problems. A project on schizophrenia, led by Carrie Seidman, included accounts from family members who have struggled to help relatives receive and coordinate the treatment they need. A series by the Herald-Tribune and Tampa Bay Times focused on patient abuse and management shortcomings in some of Florida's remaining mental health hospitals.

Fortunately, Murphy -- the only member of Congress who is a clinical psychologist -- has persisted in his pursuit of reform.

In June, Murphy and Eddie Bernice Johnson -- a Texas Democrat who is a psychiatric nurse -- filed H.R. 2646, which revised last year's legislation. To date, 117 Republicans and 46 Democrats have signed onto the bill. In Florida, 10 Republicans -- including Vern Buchanan, R-Longboat Key -- and three Democrats are co-sponsors; in California, 12 Democrats and seven Republicans are co-sponsors. Clearly, there is potential for bipartisanship.

The new bill and its predecessor were filed after Murphy, chairman of the Oversight and Investigations Committee, held extensive hearings and community meetings on mental health policies and practices. His calls for sweeping reforms, including restructuring federal agencies, were buttressed by a critical report issued in February by the Government Accountability Office.

The GAO cited, among other deficiencies, a lack of coordination among the eight agencies that run more than 100 federal programs involved in mental health. Programs are inadequately reviewed, the report said. The founder of a mental illness policy organization summarized an important part of the report, telling USA Today that it showed "no one is in charge of reducing homelessness, arrest, suicide and violence by people with serious mental illness."

Murphy's bill seeks to streamline programs, promote interagency collaboration and force the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to more actively assess and coordinate programs. It calls for re-enforcing the work of effective, affordable community-based programs while, at the same time, increasing the number of inpatient psychiatric-care beds. The legislation would remove impediments that prevent Medicaid and Medicare from covering certain forms of cost-effective treatment.

Perhaps most important, H.R. 2646 would make two other substantial changes. It would:

1. Create limited exemptions to patient-privacy laws that currently can prevent family members from obtaining basic information about a mentally ill relative's diagnosis, medicines, appointments and other chronic illnesses -- even if the patient's condition is deteriorating and threatening. Privacy and the protection of rights are vital but currently there are too many barriers for caregivers who are essential to recovery.

2. Provide incentives for states to fund "assisted outpatient treatment." AOT programs allow judges to order patients incapable of caring for themselves to undergo treatment in the community, rather than in a jail or hospital.

Implementation of these changes would require oversight, but they seem necessary and beneficial.

Murphy does not understate the challenge when he calls reform a "national emergency." He has placed the equivalent of a 911 call to Washington, D.C. Will Congress respond?

Read more:

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Thursday, November 5, 2015


A Major Victory for Mental Health Reform

“After nearly 12 hours in markup, the bill was moved to the Energy and Commerce Committee with a bipartisan vote of 18 ayes and 12 nays," said the Treatment Advocacy Center. "All provisions to help the most severely mentally ill remain." 

ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) made it out of the health subcommittee markup yesterday with all provisions intact to help the most severely mentally ill. 
Introduced by Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), this landmark bill has the tremendous bipartisan support of 162 Representatives, and focuses on mental health reform for those with severe mental illness and their families who are struggling to get necessary care for their loved one.
“The whole point of advancing mental health reform is to help people most in need — the severely mentally ill, particularly people who may not understand they have an illness,” said Treatment Advocacy Center Executive Director John Snook. “Keeping these vital provisions intact means that for the first time, evidence-based mental health services will be targeted to help those with severe mental illness and the families who care for them.”
Key provisions for the most severely ill that will remain in the bill as it advances include:
  • Creates an Assistant Secretary of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders to coordinate efforts and elevate the importance of mental health and severe mental illness in the federal government; 
  • Awards funding to states and local jurisdictions to implement lifesaving, evidence-based treatment programs, called “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) laws for people who are too sick to maintain treatment themselves;
  • Reforms the IMD exclusion to increase the availability of psychiatric inpatient beds; and
  • Clarifies HIPAA to ensure mental health professionals are legally permitted to share critical diagnostic criteria and treatment information with parents or caregivers of patients with serious mental illness. 
At yesterday’s markup, lawmakers heard from an audience of families who have felt powerless to prevent their loved ones’ deterioration. 
Mothers of children battling mental illness were among those who attended the committee markup to show their support for the bill, wearing neon pink stickers that said “Show Compassion Not Politics” urging members to keep provisions that would protect their loved ones.
Tanya Shuy, a Maryland resident who lost her 26-year-old daughter, Caitlyn, to suicide this year said she is determined to see a change in the system that sent her daughter to the grave.
Maintaining the bill’s focus on severe mental illness during the markup process was one of the most important steps toward meaningful mental health reform. After nearly 12 hours, the bill moved to the Energy and Commerce Committee with a bipartisan vote of 18 ayes and 12 nays. 
To become law, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act also requires approval by the Energy and Commerce Committee, the House of Representatives, the Senate, and President Obama. 
The Treatment Advocacy Center is among the many groups who applaud Representatives Murphy and Johnson. We also applaud the mental health advocates and families affected by serious mental illness for rallying together during this watershed moment for mental health reform and giving a voice to the voiceless.
The Treatment Advocacy Center is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers to the timely and effective treatment of severe mental illness. The nonprofit promotes laws, policies and practices for the delivery of psychiatric care and supports the development of innovative treatments for and research into the causes of severe and persistent psychiatric illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The organization does not accept funding from the pharmaceutical industry. The American Psychiatric Association awarded the Treatment Advocacy Center its 2006 presidential commendation for "sustained extraordinary advocacy on behalf of the most vulnerable mentally ill patients who lack the insight to seek and continue effective care and benefit from assisted outpatient treatment.”

Labor commissioner's widow describes night of killing and his last words she heard - Tulsa World: Capitol Report

OKLAHOMA CITY — Cathy Costello said she and her husband, Mark, spent years trying to help their son, Christian, in his struggle with mental illness.
Those efforts ended Aug. 23 in a tragic meeting at a Braum’s in Oklahoma City.
Christian had asked to speak with Mark alone in the ice cream shop about Christian’s girlfriend, Cathy Costello said.
Cathy Costello went outside to wait. As she sat in the car texting their daughter, her husband slammed his hands on the car window, she said.
“I looked up. He was, I thought, covered in a bucket of paint. And the last words I heard him say were ‘call 911,’ ” Cathy Costello told state lawmakers on Tuesday during an interim study on assisted outpatient treatment for those who have a mental illness.
She then realized Mark Costello’s throat had been slashed, she said.
“I hopped out of the car,” she said. “And there was my son with a knife and my husband, like a wounded deer, stumbling away. And I am screaming at the 20 people standing there to help me. Call 911.”
She said she put her arms between her son and husband and begged Christian to stop.
“And he takes the knife and he puts it at my throat and said, ‘Get back, Mom,’ ” she said. “I thought if he cuts my throat, I can’t help Mark.”
She got Mark Costello inside the vehicle. He had been stabbed 17 times, including three wounds to the face, once to the head and several to the chest and back, she said.
“And I put my arms around Mark,” she said. “And I put my hand on his neck thinking I needed to put pressure on the wound. I knew he was dying. I could hear his lungs collapsing. And I whispered in his ear, ‘I love you. May God forgive you of your sins. Be prepared to go to heaven and meet your maker. Hold on sweetheart. You are going to make it.’ I knew he wasn’t.”
Police said Christian Costello, 26, stabbed his father repeatedly inside and outside the ice cream store. The 59-year-old state Labor Commissioner died that night at a hospital.
Christian had called his parents seeking the meeting, Cathy Costello said. They met at Braum’s, but went to a cafeteria where Christian told them he was off his medication, which caused alarm, she said. They returned to Braum’s, where the attack, occurred, she said.
Christian was diagnosed with mental illness eight years ago, Cathy Costello said.
Prior to the development of his illness, he was loving, kind, considerate and never violent, she said. He had a love for God, his mother said. Some suggested he would be a priest, she said.
As his adolescence came and went, the family began to notice that he would pace around, talk to himself and have arguments with someone in the shower, Cathy Costello said.
He would go with her to the doctor and take the medication, but he was always leery of it, she said. He thought the medication was poison, she said.
When he was on the medication, he would tell her that he had acted crazy off of it and said some weird things, urging her to make sure he took the medication because it made him feel better, she said.
Off the medication, her son believed his parents were evil, spying on him and had put cameras in his apartment and car, she said.
The family spent $150,000 on treatment that included 10 trips to facilities in and out of the state, she said.
She said Mark Costello tried to save his son day in and day out.
“The man was on his knees every day praying for his son, every day praying for a solution,” Cathy Costello said. “He wouldn’t give up.”
Terri White, Commissioner for the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, said assisted outpatient treatment, which is court ordered, requires a substantial investment of resources, but will reduce costs in other areas, such as future hospitalizations.
Cathy Costello has asked Gov. Mary Fallin to appoint her as labor commissioner, a position she hopes to use to raise awareness about mental illness.
Read the entire story here:

Labor commissioner's widow describes night of killing and his last words she heard - Tulsa World: Capitol Report

Monday, October 12, 2015

Guns, Congress and Murphy's Law

Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa. speaking on Capitol Hill earlier this year. He is the author of a bill that addresses the mental health issues he believes are central to the mass shootings crisis. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Local case where a mandatory AOT law could help this lady comply with treatment to keep herself and her community safe.

Star Trek: Voyager’ actress ordered mental evaluation after Harriman arrest

(Roane County Sheriff's Office / Paramount Network Television
(Roane County Sheriff's Office / Paramount Network Television
HARRIMAN (WATE) – A judge has ordered a mental evaluation for a former “Star Trek: Voyager” actress after she was arrested in Roane County last month for indecent exposure.

Jennifer Ann Lien, 41, played medical assistant “Kes” on the science fiction series from 1995 to 1998. Lien was taken into custody at her home in Harriman on September 3.

Neighbors say she exposed herself to two children after complaining about how they were crying. When deputies arrived to serve an arrest warrant, they say Lien was nude on her couch, covered by a blanket. She denied the allegations and refused to leave.
Previous story: Star Trek: Voyager’s ‘Kes’ charged with exposing herself to children in Harriman
Two deputies repeatedly asked Lien to put on clothes, eventually calling for a female deputy. They said Lien told them she would have all of them shot and killed.

Eventually, deputies said they put Lien in handcuffs, putting a shirt and pants from the jail on her. They said she refused to walk to the patrol car and they had to carry her to the car, before driving to the Roane County Detention Center.

Judge Dennis Humphrey has now ordered her to undergo a mental evaluation. Court officials could not confirm where the evaluation will take place.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

More Support For Murphy's Crisis Mental Health Bill

(Washington D.C.) – Culminating the last few days of Suicide Prevention Month, Congressman Tim Murphy’s bipartisan Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646, continues to galvanize support in the media and amongst national organizations. D.J. Jaffe, Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org writes in an op-ed for the National Review how H.R. 2646 increases the efficacy of existing mental health dollars by redirecting them towards serving the 4 percent of patients who are the most seriously mentally ill. 

The American Jail Association, representing over 4,000 members in 3,800 correctional facilities across the country, expressed their support for H.R. 2646 in a letter noting how the bill takes necessary steps to include correction and detention officers in reforming the broken mental health system. 

Further, Alisa Bernard and Muffy Walker of the International Bipolar Foundation describe in a letter to Reps Murphy and Johnson how the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act will have a positive impact on the foundation and families they assist in the United States, noting ways the legislation promotes early intervention and authorizes the Garrett Lee Smith Act and National Child Traumatic Stress Network. 

With 123 co-sponsors, H.R. 2646 has been endorsed by national organizations including the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Treatment Advocacy Center, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Psychological Association and American Psychiatric Association. Nationwide support for the legislation has come from newspaper editorsphysicians, and parents of children with mental illness. More information can be found here

Let’s Get Moving on Treating the Seriously Mentally Ill
September 24, 2015
Homelessness, hospitalization, arrest, incarceration, suicide, and violence are often associated with people who are known to have serious mental illness and were allowed to go untreated. The pressing importance of getting treatment to these individuals led 118 compassionate Republicans and Democrats to co-sponsor the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646), proposed by Representatives Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D., Texas). Rather than throw more money at the ephemeral issue of “improving the mental wellness of all Americans,” which is what the mental-health industry wants, this bill increases the efficacy of existing mental-health dollars by redirecting them towards serving the 4 percent of patients who are the most seriously mentally ill. It replaces mission creep with mission control. – D.J. Jaffe, National Review 

Letter of Support
September 28, 2015

The American Jail Association is pleased the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 makes correction and detention officers an active part of the process from consulting with the departments of correction when prioritizing the integration of services, to early diagnosis, intervention and workforce development. Having the Assistant Secretary coordinate with the justice and correction systems when building evidence-based practices and service delivery models, brings correction and detention officers unique mental health perspective to the table. – Robert Kasbian, Executive Director

Letter of Support 
September 15, 2015

As a worldwide leader in providing mental health resources, we are immensely encouraged by provisions in H.R. 2646 that authorize funding for law enforcement officers, paramedics, emergency medical services workers, and other first responders to recognize and properly intervene with individuals in crisis. – Alisa Bernard and Muffy Walker, International Bipolar Foundation.
In his seventh term representing Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district encompassing suburban Pittsburgh including parts of Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland and Greene Counties, Rep. Tim Murphy also serves as a Commander in the Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps as a psychologist treating Wounded Warriors with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury.
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