Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to spot opioid abuse in a loved one

Image result for opioid abuse
Did you know that 44 people die every day from an overdose of prescription drugs in the United States? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the majority of deaths from drug overdoses involve an opioid
Here's what you need to know about the epidemic and how to protect your loved ones:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

3 Letters That Explain Why President Obama Is Signing the Cures Act

DECEMBER 13, 2016 AT 8:01 PM ET BY TANYA SOMANADER

Summary: Today, President Obama signed the Cures Act into law. These letters from Americans across the country explain why.

READ THE VICE PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE WATCH THE PRESIDENT'S REMARKS

Today, President Obama signed into law the 21st Century Cures Act, bipartisan legislation that will go a long way toward bringing about the medical breakthroughs we need to meet some of the biggest health challenges facing Americans today. No matter what corner of the country you live in, you or someone in your life has been touched by cancer, the opioid epidemic, devastating illnesses or serious mental health issues. The Cures Act makes significant investments in innovative technologies and research that could find a cure for Alzheimer's, end cancer as we know it, and help those who are seeking treatment for opioid addiction.

Cures Act investments

Read these three letters to learn why President Obama is so committed to investing in the future of health in America.

EUGENE AMMON, JR., COLUMBUS, OH
Letter from Eugene Ammon

Transcript:

Hello Mr. President, my name is Eugene Ammon. I am from Columbus Ohio. I am sending this message in regards to the growing concern in this country about addiction especially the growing number of people who die each year because of this. I personally lost my mother 18 months ago to a heroin overdose and will most likely be attending my sisters funeral, a mother of 3, by the years end as she is also an addict and has been diagnosed with heart problems and Hep C. Both i assume due to her addiction and her life style that has led her to being arrested for soliciting more times than i can count. 

My concern is that this has opened my eyes as to how only those with an abundance of resources have steady and consistent access to the treatment necessary to actually treat themselves. My sister was recently released out into the world, again, without anywhere to go as waiting lists for facilities combined with over crowding in the jail system meant she would be put in a position no one could possibly succeed in. 

There are facilities available but they need you to be insured. To be blunt but even with the expanded access to health insurance this is not something a prostitute with a heroin problem is walking around with. 

Let me be clear that her decisions are hers and hers alone. They were my mothers decisions. However I cant help but wonder what kind of difference it would make if one could have access to this kind of help the moment they wanted it. I feel there are enough resources to make this a reality, I also think this would be cheaper over the long run than the countless unpaid ER visits that are occurring everyday from things like overdoses and infections. 

Its too late for my family. Its too late for me. Its not too late for countless others. 

I don't know what they policy answers are. I as an average american can only reach out to those who might with what i see as a problem and hope someone notices or cares. I do know this is health crisis not just a criminal one and i hope for a policy approach sooner rather than later that will deal with this as such. 

If you or anyone happens to read this i thank you for your time. 

More Americans now die every year from drug overdoses than in motor vehicle crashes, and the majority involve opioids. The Cures Act invests $1 billion dollars to combat the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic, as the President’s called for in his budget. The Administration is committed to ensuring that these funds are disbursed quickly and effectively starting in early 2017.

THE OPIOID EPIDEMIC

KATHRYN GREEN, SANTA MONICA, CALIFORNIA
Letter from Kathryn Green

Transcript:

Dear President Obama and Vice President Biden,

My name is Kathryn Green and I'm a mother of a 14 month old daughter, a high school teacher in Los Angeles, and a wife of a husband who is battling brain cancer. While this is the first time I'm writing to offer my deepest condolences for the loss of the Vice President's son, his family was in my prayers upon hearing the news, and will continue to be. I read in the news this morning that the Vice President was visiting the Fred Hutchinson Research Center on Monday, and I wanted to thank him for continuing to bring this terrible disease into the spotlight, and thank you both for being that ever-hopeful light in finding a way to manage cancer with your Moonshot initiative. I sat with my daughter on my lap and listened to the State of the Union address, and at one years old, I was delighted that she clapped along as the audience applauded. There are so many problems and issues that need healing in this country, and I'm deeply grateful that both President Obama and Vice President Biden are standing with the patients, families, and communities who have been touched by this disease. I will continue to follow your administrations lead and support you in your endeavors, however they manifest over the next few months and years. It is with the most sincerity and humbleness that I ask for your office to continue supporting the institutes, scientists, and research centers, who will, no doubt. be the harbinger of a bright future in a diagnosis which sees only dark clouds ahead. Thank you again for all of the work you have done, and will continue to do. I will be cheering from the sidelines, and envisioning better days to come. 

Warmly,

Kathryn Green

In his last State of the Union address, President Obama asked Vice President Joe Biden to be at the head of "mission control" in a new moonshot effort to end cancer as we know it. The Cancer Moonshot's ultimate goal is to make a decade’s worth of advances in cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, in five years. The Cures Act invests $1.8 billion in this initiative -- important funding that will support investment in promising new therapies like cancer immunotherapy, new prevention tools, cancer vaccine development, novel early detection tools, and pediatric cancer interventions.

THE CANCER MOONSHOT

MICHELLE MCREE, ATWATER, CALIFORNIA
Michelle McRee first wrote the President in December of 2015 in frustration over her 15-year-old granddaughter's inability to receive the mental health services she needed. She questioned whether the health care law and the U.S. health care system would ever be able to address her daughters needs: "I am sick and I am disgusted with knowing that in a few weeks my grandchild will be coming home with another 'band-aid' to treat her disorders," she wrote. "I live in fear of the day that my daughter will tell me that my grandchild has taken her own life, due to a mental health disorder that she can receive only minimal treatment for."

The President responded to let her know he was listening and directed his team to help advise her on the best way to find support. This is her letter in response:

Letter from Michelle McRee

Transcript:

Dear Mr. President, 

I wanted to take a moment to thank you for listening. Your administration's response and assistance, at your behalf, has shown us how agencies can work together to help families such as ours. When I first wrote to you last fall, about my grandchild's situation and our frustrations in getting the recommended care for her, I did so not just out of frustration but out of bitter anger as well. Since then I have learned a lot. I learned that the resources were already there and had been for quite some time. While it is true that finding these resources is more difficult than it should be, it is up to us parents and guardians to be proactive for our children from the very beginning, not after the fifth hospitalization and out of bitter frustration. 

I blamed you and I blamed your healthcare policy for our struggles and i have since learned that wasn't fair. While I am not a member of your political party (no, I didn't vote for you) and have often been critical of this new healthcare policy, I am forever grateful to you sir, for taking the time to listen, to help, and to make my grandchild's day when she read your letter. 

Since becoming my grandchild's caregiver, and during being the primary caregiver for my parents before their deaths these past couple years, I have lost a lot. I have had to make the choice to give up a job (twice now), I am losing my car due to being financially unable to afford it, and we may have to move soon. Unfortunately. those choices have to be made because our system, both state and federal, does have many gaps. But they were choices that I made fully aware and the only thing that i have lost are just that ... "things", and can be replaced. I cannot replace the time I had with my parents, nor the joy in seeing my grandchild progress daily in learning to cope in healthy ways with her disorders whil still remaining here at home. I cannot replace the gratitude of having one of the best mental health support teams that I have ever had the honor of knowing. And I cannot replace the humbling realization that we can, and are often, wrong in where we place blame. That my government didn't fail my grandchild. My goverment stepped in and provided the professional support for us to help my grandchild. 

Again, I thank you President Obama for what you have done for my family. I wish you and your family many happy years. 

Sincerely,

Michelle R. McRee 

The Cures Act includes bipartisan mental health provisions, including improved coordination between primary care and behavioral health services, reauthorization of important programs focused on suicide prevention and other prevention services, and mental health and substance use disorder parity provisions that build on the work of the President's Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Parity Task Force.

The Cures Act also makes a significant investment of nearly $3 billion to continue the President's signature biomedical research initiatives -- the BRAIN and Precision Medicine Initiatives -- over the next decade to tackle diseases like Alzheimer's and create new research models to find cures and better target treatments.

ICYMI: Murphy on PBS Newshour

“How the big biomedical bill advances U.S. mental healthcare”

For Immediate Release: December 14, 2016
Contact: Carly Atchison 202.225.2301
Washington, D.C. - Yesterday, Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18), author of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, joined PBS Newshour to discuss his groundbreaking reforms after the 21st Century Cures Act was signed into law. As reported by William Brangham, one key part that’s received less attention is the effort to fix mental health care in the United States. Click here, or on the image below, to watch the full interview.
Click here or on the image above to watch Murphy's interview on PBS Newshour.
Excerpt: 

WILLIAM BRANGHAM: Really some startling numbers there. So, let’s talk about some of the specifics. You create an assistant secretary for mental health and substance use disorders. I know that is something that was very important to you. Why that?

REP. TIM MURPHY: Because we needed someone to take the helm. What we found in the GAO, General Accounting Office, reports, they said there was no accountability for the grant programs. And, oftentimes, we were funding really embarrassing silly grant programs, such as a Web site that had a special hot line you could call if you were upset about the snow in New England, if you had snow anxiety, how to make a fruit smoothie if you were upset, making collages, masks, interpretive dancing, a $20,000 painting hanging in someone’s office about mental health with two people sitting on a rock.

Total waste of money. We had to put someone in charge who can take the helm of these 112 federal agencies, work with them, with the VA, with DOD, and others, and start to coordinate evidence-based care directed towards those who need it, work on prevention, work on those with serious mental illness, but someone with the clout behind their name to do that.
 

Click here for full transcript and video.
For a full list of the provisions from the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act included in the final bill, click here.
###
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Saturday, August 27, 2016

IF ONLY ...Tennessee had an AOT law

"Stalans had been flagged by police as dangerous, based on the orders of protection in Sullivan County, the sheriff said. Details from the orders — one obtained by his ex-wife and another by his daughter — describe a man with potential mental illness, suicidal thoughts and a history of physical abuse toward his family. Rebecca Stalans, mother of his three daughters, also said he had many guns." 
IF ONLY Mr. Stalan's family could have petitioned for court ordered treatment of his mental illness when they first noticed signs of deterioration ... but in Tennessee, we don't have an Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) law to allow family members to intervene. We need this law! #AOT4TN  

Slain Officer Ambushed by Man with Lengthy History of Mental Illness & Violence toward his Family

Thursday, August 25, 2016

88 BEDS INSTEAD ARE COMING TO TENNESSEE!

"This week, I have seen 12 individuals who needed care at Moccasin Bend [the state mental health facility], but they can't get in, so we try to keep them in a jail cell. Some are dangerous, some have committed stabbings or robberies, but most often they have mental health issues entwined with drugs and alcohol." - Judge Gary Starnes, who backed the project, said too many people he sees in his courtroom have significant mental health issues but no place to go for treatment. Read here: 88 BEDS INSTEAD OF JAIL  

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Tennessee still needs AOT !!!

This article describes what AOT could look like in our own community: compassionate care of Tennessee's neediest, sickest citizens. I witnessed this firsthand last night under the I-40 bridge in Knoxville, feeding our homeless neighbors. Out of 200, probably 3/4 had notable mental illness. AOT could help them. Tennesseans, we need an AOT law! Tennessee remains as one of only 4 states in our nation without AOT on the books.

GIve New Outpatient Program A Chance

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

When is the war on the mentally ill going to stop?

Mayor Burchett sounds off, and rightly so.  Mayor Burchett angry at states failure to help mentally ill.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Murphy’s "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis" Bill Passes House!!!!

* * * BREAKING * * *
Murphy’s Crisis Mental Health Bill Passes House 
Near Unanimous Vote in favor of H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act
For Immediate Release: July 6, 2016
Contact: 
Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(WASHINGTON, DC) – Congressman Tim Murphy’s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) passed the House on Wednesday, July 6th, 2016.
“This historic vote closes a tragic chapter in our nation’s treatment of serious mental illness and welcomes a new dawn of help and hope,” said Congressman Murphy. “We are ending the era of stigma. Mental illness is no longer a joke, considered a moral defect and a reason to throw people in jail. No longer will we discharge the mentally ill out of the emergency room to the family and say ‘Good luck, take care of your loved one, we’ve done all the law will allow.’ Today the House voted to deliver treatment before tragedy.”
Considered the most comprehensive reform of the mental health system in the past half century, the bill earned 207 bipartisan cosponsors in advance of the historic vote on the House Floor and garnered endorsements from news outlets, mental health advocates, physicians and families of individuals with mental illness from across the country. 
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act focuses resources where they are most needed to foster evidence-based care, fix the shortage of psychiatric hospital beds, empower caregivers under HIPAA privacy laws to allow for compassionate communication, bring accountability to mental health spending and help patients get treatment well before their illness spirals into crisis.
In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, Congressman Murphy led the multi-year effort to reform the nation’s failing mental health care system. The Energy and Commerce Committee took the historic step last month by passing Congressman Murphy's legislation by a unanimous vote of 53-0 and set the stage for the vote today on the floor to overhaul the failed system for the first time in more than half a century. 
“To every family member, the tens of thousands who reached out to me, who stepped forward to share their story and be a voice for change, my deepest gratitude for your courageous stand to help families in mental health crisis,” said Murphy. 
The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646 passed with a near unanimous vote of 422-2. The overwhelming vote in the House is expected to break the logjam on considering mental health reform legislation in the Senate. Murphy pledged to continue working the bill all the way to the President’s desk for signature.

HR2646 PASSED THE HOUSE TODAY!




The House of Representatives today passed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) by an overwhelming majority (422-2).



Celebrate today as we make history.
Tomorrow we get back to work.


Today's vote sends a clear message to the Senate: our treatment system is broken and unacceptable. To change the status quo, they too must take action.

Preventable Tragedies Occur within Families, too. This time in Tennessee.

michelle-owens (June 30, 2016) A severely mentally ill Alabama woman was taken by Tennessee police to a psychiatric hospital for treatment after she was arrested in the state earlier this month. But, after a too-short stay, she was released from the hospital without follow-up care. Now, a few weeks later, she faces charges in the fatal shooting of her husband (“Tennessee sheriff: Decatur slaying suspect taken for psychiatric treatment earlier this month,” Decatur Daily, June 29).MIchelle Owens, 44, was involuntarily committed to a psychiatric unit after a Tennessee police officer attempted to pull her over for speeding and she fled the scene.
“She just took off, and they ended up using a spike strip to stop her,” Trousdale County Sheriff Ray Russell said. “We knew something was going on with her and she needed help.”
Owens was charged with misdemeanor evading arrest by motor vehicle and issued a speeding citation, but the charges were dropped after she was released from the hospital just a couple days later.
“The judge and the district attorney agreed to that because it was obvious something was going on with her,” Sheriff Russell said. “We just wanted to know she was getting help, and her husband was there to make sure she was OK.”
Family members reveal Owens had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Her 17-year-old son became concerned and called 911 after discovering she had recently purchased a pistol and had been actting erratically.
Police responded Sunday afternoon to Owens’ home and found her husband, Lawrence “Eddie” Owens, 44, dead with a gunshot wound to the head.
To recap, Michelle Owens—a severely ill women in the midst of an acute psychiatric crisis—was released from a psychiatric hospital after a couple of days because police and medical staff believed that “she was getting help and her husband was there to make sure she was OK.”
But who was there to make sure Owens’ husband was OK?
Psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder are vastly overrepresented among family homicides, according to a new Treatment Advocacy Center study on the topic.
In nearly 30 percent of all family homicides the offender was reported to have a severe psychiatric disease, and failure to take medication prescribed for serious mental illness was a major risk factor for committing a family homicide, the study reported.
"It's insanity to close down psychiatric facilities and make treatment in the community almost impossible to access, leaving family members with the impossible task of picking up the pieces," said E. Fuller Torrey, lead author of the study and founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center. "These sorts of tragedies are the logical result."
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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

BREAKING: Energy & Commerce Unanimously Passes H.R. 2646 !!!!


BREAKING: Energy & Commerce Unanimously Passes H.R. 2646
Murphy's Landmark Legislation Moves to the House Floor
For Immediate Release: June 15, 2016
Contact: 
Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington, DC) - By a unanimous vote of 53-0 Congressman Tim Murphy's (R-PA) landmark crisis mental health legislation the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, the House Energy & Commerce Committee reported the  bill out favorable to the House. Considered the most comprehensive reform of mental health in the past half century, the bill currently boasts 197 bipartisan cosponsors and has garnered endorsements across the country from newspaper editors, physicians and families of individuals with mental illness. 
“Here and now this Committee jointly proclaims that the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness must come out of the shadows. We declare a new dawn of hope for the care of those with mental illness and we pledge our unwavering commitment to continued work to bring help and hope in the future,” stated Chairman Murphy. 
Watch Murphy deliver his powerful and emotional statement here.
“Today’s vote on passage of H.R. 2646 and reporting the bill out of Committee is a historic moment for families in mental health crisis and for the millions of Americans trapped in our nation’s broken mental health system,” said Murphy. “Delivering evidence-based treatment is how we will finally conquer stigma surrounding mental illness, and this bipartisan bill transforms the federal government’s approach to mental health. This bill calls for a complete overhaul of the current federal system, refocusing resources on helping those with the most serious mental illnesses by getting them treatment before, during and after a psychiatric crisis. I couldn’t be prouder of the work of the bipartisan coalition in Congress, and I eagerly look forward to the bill’s consideration on the House Floor.”
Watch Video of Congressman Murphy delivering his remarks Here
###
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TODAY - The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act Takes a Major Step Forward

WASHINGTON, DC - For families exhausted from battling a broken mental health system, finally there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

The House Energy and Commerce Committee, chaired by Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), has scheduled a full committee markup this morning to consider HR 2646, the landmark mental health reform legislation introduced last year by Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). 

The Treatment Advocacy Center has been closely monitoring the negotiation process and we are pleased that despite the many competing interests, the bill hasn't lost its focus on severe mental illness. 

Among the most important reforms we expect to see:
Funding AOT: Authorizes an additional two years of funding for the Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) federal grant program to catalyze communities to implement this lifesaving, evidence-based treatment program;
 
VOICE YOUR SUPPORT. Tell members of the Energy and Commerce Committee that we MUST keep the focus on people with severe mental illness.
All donations are fully tax-deductible.  The Treatment Advocacy Center does not solicit nor accept support from pharmaceutical companies. 
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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A WAKE UP CALL FOR CONGRESS ON MENTAL HEALTH REFORM

In today’s Wall Street Journal:Lawmakers need to act

For Immediate Release: 3.30.16
Contact:
 Murphy Press 202.225.2301
(Washington DC) – In today’s Wall Street Journal, Dr. E. Fuller Torrey of the Stanley Medical Research Institute presses Congress to stop stalling and take up Congressman Tim Murphy's (R-PA) landmark mental health legislation, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646). Calling it "the only proposal that would be likely to affect the actual treatment" of the severely mentally ill, Dr. Torrey puts forth: “One might think that members of Congress would be interested in passing legislation that could decrease threats to themselves. But that assumes they are thinking logically.”   
A Wake-Up Call for Congress on Mental-Health Reform The incident at the Capitol involving a clearly troubled man is the latest reminder:  
Lawmakers need to act
 
E. Fuller Torrey
March 29, 2016
Another shooting at the U.S. Capitol. This time, in an incident on Monday, 66-year-old Larry Dawson, a Tennessee man known to U.S. Capitol Police for his erratic behavior, was shot and wounded by a police officer when he pulled out what sources later said was a pistol-like pellet gun.
What is going on? One possible answer was offered earlier this month by 30-year-old Kyle Odom, who was arrested March 8 after throwing a letter to President Obama over the White House fence. The letter warned the president that there are at least 50 members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, who are Martians. Then, in a 21-page manifesto released to the media, Mr. Odom provided the names of these congressional Martians and described how they live “deep underground here and inside the moon.” Law-enforcement officials say that two days before the White House incident, Mr. Odom shot and critically wounded an Idaho minister, believing that the clergyman also was a Martian.
Kyle Odom had not always believed in extraterrestrials. He served four years as a decorated Marine, graduated from the University of Idaho with honors, and was accepted into a prestigious Ph.D. program in genetics. Then he developed delusions and auditory hallucinations, classic symptoms of schizophrenia. Like many with this disease, though, he apparently has had no awareness of his own illness.
Mr. Odom joins a long line of individuals with untreated mental illness who have come to the attention of Congress. In 1998 Russell Weston, with untreated schizophrenia, shot his way into the Capitol building, killing two guards before finally being stopped as he entered the office of then-House Majority Whip Tom DeLay. In response, Congress vowed to do something about untreated mental illness but did nothing. 
In 2011 Jared Loughnerwith untreated schizophrenia, severely wounded then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., and killed six others. In response, Congress vowed to do something but did nothing. Then in 2013 Miriam Carey, seriously mentally ill, was killed by U.S. Capitol Police on the Capitol grounds, causing a lockdown of the building. During these same years there have been at least 20 widely publicized mass shootings by individuals with serious mental illness that was not being treated.
Mr. Odom’s arrival in Washington with his list of Martian members of Congress has come at a time when there are multiple legislative proposals, in both the House and Senate, to improve the nation’s broken mental-illness treatment system. The strongest bill is from Rep. Tim Murphy (R., Pa.), the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646), which has 135 Republican and 51 Democratic co-sponsors. It is the only proposal that would be likely to affect the actual treatment of Kyle Odom, Miriam Carey, Jared Loughner, Russell Weston and other individuals with untreated serious mental illness who, because of the effect of the disease on their brain, are unaware of their own illness and need for treatment.
Kyle Odom said it best at the beginning of his manifesto: “As you can see, I’m pretty smart. I’m also 100 percent sane, 0 percent crazy.” The provision in Rep. Murphy’s bill, which would make treatment possible, is called assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) and requires the individual to follow a court-ordered treatment plan. In study after study, AOT has been shown to significantly reduce hospitalization, incarcerations and violent acts among individuals with serious mental illness. 
A study by New York state found that, after the first six months of court-ordered treatment, “individuals in AOT showed a significant decline [44%] in the incidence of harmful behaviors,” such as threatening suicide or violence to others.
One might think that members of Congress would be interested in passing legislation that could decrease threats to themselves. But that assumes they are thinking logically. As columnist Kimberley Strassel has reported for this newspaper, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) and her cohorts have been holding up Rep. Murphy’s proposed legislation, preferring a victory against gun lobbyists over helping those with severe mental illnesses. Other impediments have been thrown up by Reps. Fred Upton (R., Mich.) and Frank Pallone (D., N.J.), the chairman and ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee. 
There may not be any Martians in Congress, despite Kyle Odom’s claims, but if lawmakers continue to thwart this common-sense reform of mental-health policy, voters could begin to suspect that Mrs. Pelosi and her colleagues live on another planet.
###


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Thursday, March 10, 2016

IMPORTANT!

Senate HELP proposal ignores the most severely ill, perpetuates broken system
Meanwhile, Idaho Shooting Suspect and White House Intruder Has History of Mental Illness

The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) on Tuesday made public a draft mental health bill that eliminates every substantive provision to help people with severe mental illness.

At nearly the same time, Kyle Odom, a 30-year-old veteran with a reported history of mental illness was arrested after throwing objects over the White House fence. Odom is suspected in the shooting of a pastor in Idaho two days earlier, according to media accounts.

"Odom -- a man tortured by a history of suicide attempts, paranoia, voices and hallucinations --- identified 50 members of Congress as dangerous Martians and was arrested for attempting to fulfill part of his manifesto on the White House lawn," said John Snook, executive director of the Treatment Advocacy Center. "What more needs to happen for our policymakers to take our failing mental health system seriously and change the status quo?"
"Families watching their loved ones deteriorate into a psychiatric crisis need Congress to embrace proven solutions and real reform," the executive continued. "Instead, the Senate HELP Committee proposal ignores the momentum that has been built around fixing the broken system, and disregards every major change to help the most severely ill outlined by Representatives Tim Murphy and Eddie Bernice Johnson in their Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act - a bill with the bipartisan support of 185 Representatives."
The Treatment Advocacy Center urges lawmakers in the Senate to include in the bill the five following provisions to help reduce the tremendous social costs associated with our broken mental health system.
Real reform must include:
1. Reform of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA);

2. Reform of the discriminatory IMD exclusion to ensure more psychiatric inpatient beds;

3. Reform of HIPAA provisions that unnecessarily prevent communication with caregivers;

4. Support for assisted outpatient treatment, a proven solution to help those most in need; 

5. Real oversight of Protection and Advocacy programs.

Call HELP committee leadership today:
  1. Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN) -- (202) 224-4944
  2. Ranking member Sen Patty Murray (D-WA) -- (202) 224-2621
Is your Senator on HELP?  Check here.
Call your Senator TODAY and tell them to make severe mental illness a priority.