As of September 15, H.R. 2646 (‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis’ Act or ‘The Murphy Bill’) had 118 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives, including 83 Republics and 35 Democrats.
Meanwhile, Representative Tim Murphy continues to make the rounds, taking advantage of tragedy to push the bill’s regressive reforms which include:
- Re-directing funds from community supports to an increase in hospitalization and institutionalization
- Increasing the use of force (for example, Involuntary Outpatient Commitment [also referred to as Assisted Outpatient Treatment or AOT]) which allows for people to be required to take psychiatric medications, attend therapy, attend day programs, etc. at threat of loss of freedom if they refuse)
- Increasing controls on and limiting the use and impact of peer supporters
- Decreasing access to advocacy and rights supports provided through places such as the Disability Law Center
- Loosening privacy protections so that personal information can be much more easily disclosed to family members and others who identify as ‘care providers’
Have you spoken to your state Representative? Even Representatives who have already signed on as co-sponsors are able to withdraw their names, so it’s worth speaking to them either way.
Click “Read more” below for some ideas of things to say!
Talking to Your Representative About the Murphy Bill:
Representatives (and their aides) often don’t have a lot of time to give. They also tend to have a lot of people coming to them about a lot of different issues. For both of these reasons, it is very important to have a clear idea of what you want to say, and to be able to express your concerns and what you are asking of the Representative as specifically and briefly as possible.
The Campaign for Real Change in Mental Health Policy offers two ‘Talking Points’ pages which may be useful to you in developing what you want to say:
A possible letter or statement to your Representative might go something like this:
As a constituent living in [your city and state], I am calling (or writing) today to ask you to oppose the Murphy Mental Health Bill H.R. 2646.
H.R. 2646 would take discriminatory action against individuals in psychiatric treatment by reducing privacy protections.
It would redirect Federal money away from innovative programs to involuntary outpatient commitment, which is expensive and ineffective.
It would also limit critical legal advocacy for people in psychiatric treatment, and needlessly increase institutionalization, thus violating the Olmstead Act.
Sincerely, Your Name
To find contact details for your Representative, visit www.usa.gov/Contact/US-Congress.shtml