The Murphy Bill is Breaking Down


In a major blow to Congressman Tim Murphy’s controversial “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” House Republicans have adopted a strategy of breaking the bill up into pieces. The bill faced controversy that made passing the bill in its current form, which calls for gutting and reorganizing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, unlikely at best. Consumer groups such as Mental Health America had argued that the bill is regressive and ignores the possibility of early intervention for people before they reach mental health crisis. “If you wait until stage 4, you’re always going to be dealing with stage 4,” said Debbie Plotnick, senior director of state policy at Mental Health America.

Shift in strategy for GOP on mental health reform (The Hill)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. Unfortunately, I am very familiar with Ms Inman and her views.

    I thought one of the commentators nailed it precisely in asking her why it isn’t acceptable for someone with psychosis to have an advanced directive as to how they want to be treated when they are unwell vs. assuming like Ms Inman does that the person with this condition is always incompetent and should be subjected to force drugging.

    Of course, if the person didn’t want drugs, that wouldn’t be acceptable to the drugging natzis because that isn’t based on science. AA rolling her eyes at this point.


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    • AA, as you know, Inman is a big fan of Fuller Torrey of TAC. Torrey’s stated objections to Advance Directives are that:

      (a) the patient may not be competent to appoint a representative
      (b) the patient’s representative may not him/herself be competent

      I find both these objections very offensive and typical of the toxic paternalism inherent in forced psychiatry. Here in BC, mental health decisions are specifically excluded from our Representation Agreement Act. The best someone can do is attempt to find a reasonable, cooperative doctor and to establish/maintain a network of friends and family who will assist appropriately in a crisis.

      For those not so lucky, the Mad Community really needs a group of individuals ready, willing and able to show up at a moment’s notice and act as psych advocates. Just having a third party present at an intervention can do wonders if the person is knowledgeable and has dispute resolution skills.

      The notion that only compliance is proof of competence is probably the most infuriating concept in all of psychiatry.

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      • “Compliance is proof of competence”.

        Emilio was found slumped over in his room at Fort Lauderdale Hospital — where he was being treated AGAINST HIS WILL for ALLEGED mental illness — with blood dripping from his mouth or nose, Tringali said. He was taken by ambulance to Broward General Hospital, where he slipped into a coma.

        The teen died March 29, 2003.

        Patient: Doctor those meds are knocking me out and make me shuffle, drool and feel like I have a thousand bricks on my head.

        Doctor: If you don’t take them we will have you forcibly injected and sent to the state hospital.

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        • There’s research showing that less compliant person do better. But the psychiatry is going to happily ignore those findings the same as that forced treatment causes trauma and PTSD (which should be clear to any human being who ever saw how it looks in real life not in theoretical “intervention done by conscientious psychiatrists making a hard choice for patient;s benefit”). It’s violent and its an assault and it should be illegal.

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          • I completely agree with you B. I’d like to add that I find it reprehensible when forced druggers argue that a person needs to be forcibly drugged because they’re too sick to know that they are sick, but one of the legal constitutional requirements for forced drugging is that it has to have a probability of working and be discontinued if it’s not. But then what happens when the person is forcibly drugged and is supposedly “doing better” and then STILL OBJECTS to taking the drug? It ought to be a no-win situation for the forced druggers at this point and yet that’s hardly (if ever) the case. The person is either a) competent enough now to legally make that decision for themselves or b) the drugs didn’t work and therefore a legal requirement for forced drugging has not been met.

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    • Let’s be positive. The article seems to imply that the coercive provisions of the Murphy bill that we have opposed are dead, in part because the Republican leadership wasn’t happy with moving ahead with a controversial bill. And who made the bill controversial? People like us :-).

      What is clear from this episode is that both bigotry and defense of our civil liberties are bipartisan. Torrey has fooled Murphy but also this lady or DJ Jaffe who are very liberal otherwise.

      Similarly, opposing the Murphy bill there are people like you and people like. Importantly, while the NRA did not actively opposed it, it didn’t endorse it either. Since the NRA was instrumental killing a mental health bill in Colorado earlier this year, once they understood that mental health can be used to restrict second amendment rights, I do not think they are going to push “mental illness” as the cause of the shootings any longer.

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      • Hope you’re right about the NRA. I would think, especially with the prospect of all the mideast vets coming home with emotional trauma and being “diagnosed” with this and that label then having their guns confiscated, that the 2nd Amendment supporters would see how their passing the buck for violence to “untreated mental illness” might come back to bite them. (Though violence is not caused by people having weapons, either.)

        But all in all this is promsing news! Now we need to attack each piece of the bill separately, just like they neutralize viruses by interfering with their ability to carry out key processes at different junctures. Can we get them to chop this bill up into even smaller pieces? Maybe someone who has been paying careful attention to the ins and outs of this process to date could give a more comprehensive summary of where things stand now and what the most important hurles are that remain.

        Also, speaking of Torrey, did people watch 60 Minutes tonight? What a creep!

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        • “Though violence is not caused by people having weapons, either”
          But gun violence is caused by people with guns. What is happening in US with mass shootings is absolutely insane and something should be done about it and this thing is gun control – it basically solved the issue anywhere else in the developed world.
          However, there is also a psych med angle to the shootings, which is happily ignored in the mainstream discussion. Blaming the “lack of mental healthcare” is bullshit for anyone who took like 5 minutes to read the press releases on pretty much any of these cases: they were all under psychiatric “care” and most were drugged or withdrawing from drugs. But that is inconvenient truth.

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          • The whole gun control issue is not really my thing, but I notice an unavoidable analogy to one piece of your logic in a quote from the 60 Minutes piece where someone says “most schizophrenics are nonviolent but x per cent of violent crimes are committed by people with serious mental illness.”

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          • @ oldhead:
            Having a gun is not a human right. It doesn’t violate your personal freedom or your body if you’re forbidden to have one (or go through a basic check up to have one). Gun is not something you need to survive, it’s a tool made to kill stuff, especially other human beings.
            Gun control should be a no brainer. Plus the gun control legislation exists in most developed countries and it’s enough to compare gun violence rates. Or mass shootings for that matter. America is crazy about guns to the point which bring pretty much anyone living elsewhere to roll their eyes.

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          • I didn’t even take a position on this nor do I intend to, I was simply noting an inconsistent piece of logic.

            I have never owned a gun nor do I intend to start now, but since you seem to want to engage on this issue I would pose the question of who you would expect to enforce “gun control” but other people with more guns…

            Violence among the people is a reflection of the violence of the system, when the latter stops so will the former.

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  2. These groups operating under the guise of advocates for the “mentally ill,” in reality are heavily funded pharmaceutical front groups who call the shots , see Presenting themselves not only as patient advocacy to their membership, many of which may have a sincere desire to help a loved one or a family member with problems, but to legislators, the press , the public — lobbying for legislation that benefits the mental health and pharmaceutical industries which fund them, and not patients they claim to represent.

    Look at this “Florida Partners In Crisis” “Round Table Members” Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems , they sit “round” the table and figure ways to push more drugs and make more billions.

    The most common crisis a person accused of mental illness gets into is homelessness but instead of helping with that the psychiatric pharmaceutical industry makes billions and returns the person to the streets. A few hospital stays will buy a small house !!,FL/price;d_sort/0-50000_price

    “Charges were 2.5 times higher than the hospitals’ reported costs to deliver care. Reimbursed amounts indicated by MarketScan were similar to the reported costs to deliver care. The average cost to deliver care was highest for Medicare and lowest for the uninsured: schizophrenia treatment, $8,509 for 11.1 days and $5,707 for 7.4 days, respectively; bipolar disorder treatment, $7,593 for 9.4 days and $4,356 for 5.5 days; depression treatment, $6,990 for 8.4 days and $3,616 for 4.4 days; drug use disorder treatment, $4,591 for 5.2 days and $3,422 for 3.7 days; and alcohol use disorder treatment, $5,908 for 6.2 days and $4,147 for 3.8 days.”


    They don’t want to help, housing is help, they only want to label and drug cause these people are like a bottomless pit of greed and label and drug is where the money is.

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  3. As someone who sent a letter explaining how the sexual abuse of my young child was covered up with psychiatric misdiagnosis and coerced major tranquilization to my democratic senator, and got a form letter back claiming he was morally correct to vote for it. But could not even find a way to contact my GOP senator, who thankfully did not vote for it. I’m glad to see this bill is being broken up. But I hope we can help to end the stupidity fest of belief in scientifically “lacking in validity,” and completely unprovable “mental illnesses.” What an insane world I live in.

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    • I think the most effective is to show that these drugs in fact don’t prevent or help in anything and that they create more problems – there is plenty of studies out there to prove that. But if the politicians are sponsored by pharma nothing’s going to change their minds – money has to be taken out of politics and subsequently for healthcare and clinical studies.

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