Sunday, January 10, 2016

Murphy's Mental Health Care Bill Advances

I am delighted to report that H.R.2646 "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act" is still alive after coming to a strategic vote in Congress. After much ado (prison investors vs. honest representatives), the bill was passed by the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee in November 2015. My report is late for three reasons: (1) Hackers destroyed another computer of mine in late September; (2) my brother who was sprayed with Agent Orange in Vietnam died suddenly of a blood clot while being treated for cancer in October; and (3) my elderly mother then had a stroke in November. It is depressing for my mother to know that her two sons were killed by their government - first Larry Neal, who was killed while under secret arrest for mental illness in 2003, and now Ed, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who served with valor but was poisoned in Vietnam. Catching up and reporting all of the news I missed would be impossible, but reporting the victory about H.R.2646 is too exciting to miss. As Susan Inman wrote, other countries should pay attention to America's legal battles over mental health care. File it under "Avoid This."

Canada Should Look to the U.S.'s Legal Struggles Over Mental Illness Policies
Susan Inman ~~ Author, After Her Brain Broke: Helping My Daughter Recover Her Sanity

THE FUTURE of people in the United States and in Canada with the most severe mental illnesses looks a bit brighter this week. That's because last week a U.S. Congressional Subcommittee narrowly passed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, known in Congress as HR-2646 ... SAMHSA is the federal agency created in the wake of the massive deinstitutionalization that began in the 1960s. It received a Congressional mandate to create mental health care in the communities for this vulnerable population. However, SAMHSA's misguided policies have led to massive numbers of people with psychotic illnesses remaining untreated. The U.S. has gotten used to this population ending up homeless or incarcerated [or killed]. Canada is allowing the same problem to develop here. Read the entire article at link

Congratulations to the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee for passing H.R.2646
"Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act." You did the right thing for American taxpayers who stumble under the country's humongous prison debt, families with members who have acute mental illness, their neighbors and communities. You voted for your constituents. If you are ever criticized for your decision, please direct the critics to "Dog Justice for Mentally Ill" blog. Tell them it is time for everyone to divest themselves of private prison stocks. Slavery through mass incarceration will end, beginning with our mentally challenged citizens. Decent people do not enrich themselves by removing the most vulnerable members of society - the mentally disabled - from their homes and families to dump them in jails and prisons where they endure torture routinely and some are killed without accountability. Thank you for finding that unacceptable and for doing your best to stop it. Special thanks to Sen. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

Peter Sullivan, of "The Hill," reported the passage of H.R.2646 by the congressional subcommittee. He wrote:

"The House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee advanced it on a mostly party-line vote of 18-12 on Wednesday ... after a fiery debate where Democrats objected that they had been cut out of the process ...

One of the most controversial parts of the bill gives a two percent increase in federal grants to states that have assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) laws, where judges can mandate treatment for patients with serious mental illness.

Democrats have raised concerns with bringing the court system into care for the mentally ill. [That is comical, since 1.25 million of America's 2.3 million inmates are mentally ill.]

Another controversial area of Murphy’s bill is its changes to a health privacy law known as the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA. The changes are aimed at allowing caregivers and family members to have more information about a mentally ill person’s care.

Democrats warn that the changes would lower privacy protections for mentally ill people. [Police conduct lunacy arrests, and family members expect their loved ones to be taken to hospitals. Instead, sick people are most often jailed and remain untreated behind bars even though they were arrested during a psychotic episode. By the time the families make contact, their loved ones may have already been coerced to confess to crimes, including crimes that happened behind bars while deprived of treatment. Sick people often accept plea deals involving substantial prison sentences while deprived of psychiatric treatment or contact with anyone they trust. Democrats who are against H.R.2646 do not want families to have relaxed HIPAA standards. They want mothers to continue having heart attacks, strokes, and PTSD from worrying about their mentally ill children in correctional facilities, deprived of visits and information.]" Read the entire article at "The Hill" link

The director of Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill (AIMI) used to be a Democrat. Now I am a human rights advocate, and I vote only for candidates who uphold human rights. Regarding protections and treatment for mentally ill Americans, most Democrats seem to side with prison investors and may actually be prison investors themselves. Congratulations to the 48 Democrats who have sided with their constituents to support H.R.2646. Americans still demand that this country "be true to what it said on paper" (MLK), and we value elected and appointed officials who make that a goal.

WHO are the prison investors in Congress? Most of the reps whose names are missing on the list of co-sponsors for H.R.2646 "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act" may own private prison stocks or accept campaign contributions from prison companies: Please check for your congressional representative's name.

Thank you for giving Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill.
We are winning, families and advocates! Let us keep up the momentum!

It would be illegal to keep a dog in a tight space 23 hours a day and gas or Taser him for barking. It would be illegal to put a dog in deadly restraint for control. That happens to mentally ill people routinely in this nation's correctional facilities. What happened to Larry Neal? Why are we still asking that question after twelve years?

Mentally Ill People Need Dog Justice. Treat mental illness medically, not legally. Support H.R. 2646 "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act."

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