Call to Action
- August 16, 2016 | The Murphy Bills
Call Members of the United States Senate
BEFORE LABOR DAY
to Support Senate Bill 2680 -
Without Amendments from HR 2646
The Senate is being pressured to take up their mental health bill, S. 2680, sponsored by Chris Murphy and Lamar Alexander, when they return from recess in September. It is unclear whether they will consider the bill or not. It is possible they will pass mental health reform to the next Congress. However, we cannot assume they will “kick the can down the road.” We must act.
There is a significant danger that the bill will have amendments attached to it, or be changed when the conference process with the House takes place. We have every indication that members of the House, as well as House committee staff, have convinced members of the Senate that HR 2646, the original Murphy Bill, has been overhauled and is now acceptable to all stakeholders. This is far from true. We must prevent any language from HR 2646 from bleeding into the Senate bill.
Please use this opportunity to meet with your senators or staffers while they are in their home offices. Tell them to support S. 2680 as passed by the HELP Committee, without changes from HR 2646.
If meetings are not possible, please write your senators – email or regular mail, and follow up with a phone call to discuss any questions they may have (which is basically a prompt to read your communication).
For additional info:
Mad In America article by NCMHR Executive Director Valerie L. Marsh
Coalition for Mental Health Reform
The Coalition for Mental Health Reform is made up of disability, civil, and human rights organizations working with people with psychiatric disabilities for the improvement of legislative outcomes for mental health reform.
Click to view August 4, 2016 Statement - Concerns with the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 passed in the House of Representatives July 6, 2016
The following is an overview of the combined talking points. Depending on time availability, and your own confidence in education your elected representative, I suggest you choose the top 4-5 points that matter to you. Please refer to the above documents for more details:
- Nothing about us without us. HR 2646 excludes the voice of people who have lived experience with mental health issues in decisions that dramatically affect our lives.
- The bill expands grant funding and the timeframes for Assisted Outpatient Treatment. There is no evidence that AOT is more effective than voluntary care.
- HR 2646 significantly weakens the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
- HR 2646 uses “anosognosia” [pronunciation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVo2QZ29q_c] as a rationale to relax confidentiality issues and promote forced treatment. There is no scientific basis for anosognosia in mental health.
- The bill is hostile to programs and concepts of recovery.
- Increased services in the community are needed; they cannot be replaced by hospitals.
Additional problems with HR 2646, from the viewpoint of other advocacy groups:
- The bill creates an additional grievance procedure within the PAIMI Act. There is no evidence has been provided that this already existing system is not working, and therefore there is no need for an additional process.
- HR 2646 removes an incentive for states to develop community-based services and avoid overreliance on long-term institutionalization.
- The Bill creates an Electronic Verification Visit (EVV) requirement for home health workers that would be harmful to individuals with disabilities, ineffective at addressing fraud and has the potential to increase state liability.
- HR 2646 provides $10,000,000 over a 5-year period for paraprofessional training and education programs. Given the crisis in community care, the funds should be re-directed to all states to expand a broad array of peer support services.
Concluding point: The Community Mental Health Act was passed by the 88th Congress in 1963. Instead of investing in community care, states closed beds and re-allocated the funding elsewhere. Deinstitutionalization is a fiscal failure, not an issue of "undeserved rights," that represents a discriminatory bias against people with mental health conditions. It is this fiscal failure, driven by fear and discrimination, that has placed people on the streets and in the correctional system. Additional funding for inpatient care does nothing to prevent the need for it. It only perpetuates ugly crises that wind up in the media with this flawed and discriminatory use of public dollars.
53 years after passage of the CMHA, we are still waiting for true deinstitutional-ization. How much longer must we wait?
The following links provide contact information for all members of Congress. Additionally, there are links to the members of the HELP Committee and Senate Finance. The members of these two committees are especially important to contact. Their support or non-support will likely decide the fate of MH reform for this Congress. Please start by contacting their home offices.
If you are willing, your member in the House of Representatives also needs to be contacted regarding HR 2646. The bill was passed by a vote of 422-2; it was overwhelmingly supported on a bipartisan basis. Contact your House rep. to discuss why they supported the bill, and why you oppose it. We must go back and try to educate the House as much as we can.
All members of the House should be contacted using the first link above, and as with the Senate, the members of the committee that worked the bill, plus the Ways and Means Committee members, are most critical to reach.
Once you have made contact with your representative(s) in Congress, please send us a message via the contact form at www.ncmhr.org/contact.htm. We’ll be tracking it via a spreadsheet, and will share updates to see which states have advocates who have contacted their reps. HOW COOL WOULD IT BE TO SEE THAT SPREADSHEET GROW!!! We’ve already got NC, RI and OR, at a minimum… Be prepared to provide the following:
- Member of Congress Contacted – Last name, first name
- Staff persons contacted – last name, first name
- Your name
- Brief description of the outcome of your communication with them.
Questions? Of COURSE! Send them on! Happy to help people feel more comfortable with this complicated stuff. Val Marsh will visit those members of Congress FIRST with constituents at home who cared enough to talk to them.
Petitioning The Boston Globe Spotlight Team Editor Scott Allen and 7 others
Boston Globe - Apologize for fear mongering in "The Desperate and the Dead"
The Boston Globe recently ran a "Spotlight" series to draw attention to the fact that mental health treatment is underfunded in the state of Massachusetts.
Rather than place those responsible for this under-funding in the "Spotlight" however, the Globe has chosen to single out the individuals who are just as much victims of the system as their families. This is fear mongering propaganda and it does not serve anyone besides the Globe, who are likely receiving many more clicks than they would normally. Click to read, and to sign the petition.
NCMHR is a member of the National Disability Leadership Alliance, which consists of
15 national disability groups, is opposed to the Murphy bill HR 2646
Dear Reps. Upton, Whitfield, Pallone, Burgess, Barton and Shimkus: Our alliance of 15 national disability organizations, all run by persons with disabilities remain opposed to Rep. Murphy' s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis proposed bill, HR 2646, while we support HR 4435, Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act, sponsored by Reps. Green, DeGette, Matsui, Tonko, Loebsack , and Kennedy.
NDLA is a coalition of 15 national grassroots organizations run by persons with disabilities. We value the opportunity to make meaningful choices about our lives, to live and work in the communities of our choice, to have a full voice in all of the policies that affect our lives, and to be treated with dignity and respect for our civil and human rights. Click to read the letter (PDF, 558KB, 3 pages)
National Disability Leadership Alliance as well as the following of its individual members:
Autistic Self-Advocates Network
APRIL (Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living)
Little People of America
National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
National Council of Independent Living
National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities
Not Dead Yet
United Spinal Association
Lessons Learned by Statewide Consumer-Run Organizations
Webinar Archive Now Available!
Please visit www.nasmhpd.adobeconnect.com/p4ugoxgw26d to view.
Click to view PowerPoint slides (as PDF, 1.03MB, 29 pages)
Sponsored by SAMHSA and presented by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
Participants will learn about:
- Establishing a strong mission statement with goals and objectives
- Building a strong board
- How to establish strong, inclusive leadership
- Building a strong membership, with ongoing feedback to/from the board
- Training the grassroots to advocate passionately and how to be aware of critical issues
- Fund raising strategies
Moderator: Dr. Daniel Fisher, the executive director of the National Empowerment Center and the chairman of the board of directors for the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery.
Panelists: William Parke-Sutherland, Executive Director of Grassroots Empowerment Project (GEP), Anthony Fox, Chief Executive Officer of Tennessee Mental Health Consumers' Association and Sally Zinman, Executive Director of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO).
The Coalition Welcomes Dr. Anita Everett as Chief Medical Officer of SAMHSA
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) is pleased to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Anita Everett, who has been appointed Chief Medical Officer of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA). Dr. Everett will head a five-person staff for the newly created Office of Chief Medical Officer.
During the course of her psychiatric career, Dr. Everett has gained extensive experience in numerous arenas in the mental health field. She is a compassionate physician, a keen policy advocate, and an inspiring leader for recovery-based transformation of public mental health care.
Dr. Everett has shown a great respect for the perspective of people with lived experience. In the 1990’s, at the height of controversies related to patients dying and suffering in Virginia’s public psychiatric hospitals, Dr. Everett served as the first Inspector General for the state's public mental health system. In that capacity, she created teams of mental health consumers who inspected state hospitals and made recommendations for the improvement of care and protection of civil and human rights.
More recently, Dr. Everett has served as division director of Johns Hopkins Community and General Psychiatry, Bayview Campus, and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Dr. Everett has also served as president of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists and is currently the president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Everett has the skills, dedication, and depth of knowledge needed to build bridges and consensus among stakeholders in the mental health community and among policy decision makers.
NCMHR looks forward to working with Dr. Everett and SAMHSA in promoting voluntary, community-based, peer-driven services and supports across the country.
Article by Val Marsh selected as the "feature blog" at the
Mad In America Blog
The article, titled "The Murphy Bill, HR 2646 — a Heinous Piece of Legislation — is Coming to a Vote. Act Now" was published July 5, 2016
This coming Wednesday, two days after the 4th of July celebration of our country’s declaration of freedom from oppression, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, or HR 2646. It is also known as The Murphy Bill. The ORIGINAL Murphy Bill. In truth, it has nothing to do with freedom, and everything to do with oppression. Read more...
NCMHR Appoints Valerie L. Marsh, MSW as Executive Director
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2016 —The Board of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) announced the appointment of Valerie L. Marsh, MSW as Executive Director.
“I look forward to joining other mental health consumers and survivors dedicated to empowerment, self-determination and access to effective, humane, voluntary services that are peer-run,” said Marsh. View Full Press Release
Stop FDA from Down-Classifying the Shock Device to a Class II Device Stop shock treatment
Please sign this petition to the FDA requesting that ECT machines not be downgraded to Category II and also directly contact the FDA to give testimony that there should be no down grading of the ECT machines
Visit www.change.org/p/fda-stop-fda-from-down-classifying-the-shock-device-to-a-class-ii-device-stop-shock-treatment to sign the petition, and to find instructions on how to submit comments.
The Recovery Now! Campaign advances innovative strategies to improve the quality of mental health care, promoting recovery for all Americans affected by mental health conditions. Learn more and join the campaign today!
Advocates Launch Campaign to Advance Recovery-Focused Mental Health Care
As House and Senate Democrats and Republicans focus on comprehensive mental health reform, and a recent poll by the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research indicated that 71% of Americans are calling for “significant “ or “radical” changes in the way that mental illnesses and addiction are treated, leading mental health experts and advocacy groups have announced the formation of the Recovery Now! Campaign. The campaign has been created to address the crisis in our mental health service system and the personal crises faced daily by individuals and families in great distress. Click here to read the campaign launch announcement.
2015 Public Policy Priorities
Our 2015 public policy priorities focus on advocating for a recovery-focused mental health system that prevents crisis, protects rights, and promotes wellness, economic empowerment, and social inclusion. Click here to view our public policy priorities.
GAO Report on Health and Human Services Leadership Misleading, Incomplete
In 2014, Representative Tim Murphy (PA-18) engaged the GAO to enumerate the programs the Administration funds to assist persons with severe mental illness, to determine the degree to which these programs are coordinated, and to assess the evaluations done on the programs. The GAO identified over a hundred federal programs, but comes to misleading conclusions in its report. Read the GAO report and our position statement (PDF, 120KB, 1 page).
Editorial: Does the scientific evidence support the recovery model?
One of the most robust findings in schizophrenia research is that a substantial proportion of those with the illness will recover completely and many more will regain good social functioning. Click here to read the entire editorial. (PDF, 74KB, 6 pages)
For docs, more biology info means less empathy for mental health patients
New Yale study challenges the notion that biological explanations for mental illness boost compassion for the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from mental-health problems. Click here to read the findings | Effects of biological explanations for mental disorders on clinicians’ empathy by
Matthew S. Lebowitz1 and Woo-kyoung Ahn (PDF, 637KB, 5 pages)
New Research Briefs
NCMHR has compiled lists of references and citations to support legislative advocacy and public education efforts.
To access research and citations on Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), also known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), click here (PDF, 157KB, 5 pages).
To access research and citations documenting the weak link between mental health diagnoses and violence, click here (PDF, 156KB, 5 pages).
To access research on the evidence base for peer support and recovery-oriented approaches to distress and crisis, click here (PDF, 208KB, 13 pages).
Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: What the Evidence Really Says
Under Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), a person with a serious mental health condition is mandated by a court to follow a specific treatment plan, usually requiring the person to take medication and sometimes directing where the person can live and what his or her daily activities must include. Proponents of IOC claim that it is effective in reducing violent behavior, incarcerations, and hospitalizations among individuals with serious mental health conditions. However, repeated studies have shown no evidence that mandating outpatient treatment through a court order is effective; to the limited extent that court-ordered outpatient treatment has shown improved outcomes, these outcomes appear to result from the intensive services that have been made available to participants in those clinical trials rather than from the existence of a court order mandating treatment.
Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: What the Evidence Really Says (PDF, 152KB, 4 pages)
NCMHR Visionary C/S/X Leadership Conference - Audio Recording Now Available!
Another lively and inspiring discussion took place this year, featuring Daniel Fisher, Susan Rogers and Wilma Townsend, and moderated by Keris Myrick. If you missed this annual NCMHR event, please click here to access the audio of the presentations.