Representative Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania has been promoting some version of the ‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis’ Act (HR 2646) for some years. His most recent version was released in June, and although somewhat toned down, it continues to push forced treatment, decreased privacy rights, diminished access to advocates and more.
Following not far behind, Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut (along with Senator Bill Cassidy) released a Senate version in early August. This version, called the ‘Mental Health Reform Act of 2015,’ (S. 1945) is different in spots but often identical to the House Bill.
Both threaten our movement in a multitude of ways including (but not limited to):
- Expanding forced treatment in the form of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (often referred to as ‘Assisted Outpatient Treatment’ or AOT)
- Seeking to control and limit the ability of people working in peer roles
- Seeking to reduce or eliminate funding for anything that is not considered ‘evidence based’ (a status that can be challenging to come by for anyone offering an alternative approach)
- Seeking to exclude the voice of individuals for whom the mental health system has not worked effectively by using language that requires peer specialists and others speaking from personal experience to have been in ‘active treatment for the last two years,’ etc.
Want to know more about the new Senate Murphy Bill? Here are a number of sources of information:
- Listen to the Talk with Tenney Radio Show, “Reading the Cassidy-Murphy Bill” here.
- Listen to the Talk with Tenney follow-up show, “Further Analyses of Current Mental Health Legislation” here.
- Check out Lauren Tenney’s Blog, “Senate bill 1945: The New Fraud – Getting into the ‘Mental Health Reform Act of 2015′” posted here on Mad in America.
- Check out Sera Davidow’s Blog, “The Murphys Have a Way with Words” posted here on the Campaign for Real Change in Mental Health Policy.