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
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.


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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