A CALL TO ACTION: The Murphy Bill Passed the E&C Committee but the Fight Is Not Over


As you read this, people with lived experience all around the country are mobilizing to educate our federal legislators about why the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) should be defeated. Education is the key.

As executive director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, I am issuing a call to action. We need to ramp up our efforts before this backward piece of legislation becomes law. We need to get in touch with our legislators and their staffs, contact the media, make some noise! We need to exercise the proverbial strength in numbers. And we need all of this now!

On June 15, the House Energy & Commerce Committee voted unanimously, 53 to 0, to send this bill, a/k/a the (Tim) Murphy Bill— [not to be confused with Senate legislation proposed by Senator Chris Murphy]—to be voted on by the full House of Representatives. I was there with three comrades-in-arms. Four of us in a sea of people recruited by NAMI and the Treatment Advocacy Center. There were people there who had flown in just to be at this event. The four of us who were there, and all the rest of us who have lived experience of the mental health system, got steamrolled. In a big way.

Rep. Murphy calls the bill “mental health reform”—but for those of us in the trenches, with a lot at stake, it is not reform, but regression.

I am proud to be part of our movement for social justice. But, as I sat there, I wondered why we were so easily outmaneuvered. And I realized that, as the saying goes, “Size matters.” NAMI has the capacity to issue an action alert and get thousands of people to act. That alone makes the difference. The sheer volume of calls matters.

The opposition has intimate relationships with so many legislators on the E&C Committee. I kept hearing, “I’ve received tens of thousands of calls from family members in distress…” Although there are great activists in our movement who also have built such relationships, we need so many more.

Another problem: Our public relations capacity needs to grow. At one point, Rep. Murphy had entered into the record 40 different news articles to support the premises of his bill. Wow. That PR machine is mighty sophisticated. They’ve gotten sensationalized coverage of mad-murderers-on-the-loose, stories of families in agony, stories of how the mental health system is failing all Americans by not locking us away and depriving us of our civil liberties, and much more. We do not have the PR capacity to match that. Not nearly. Not yet. And, by God, we need to change that.

We do not have enough people rallied to our cause. “I’ve heard from tens of thousands of family members who have been…in pain…etc….” I know we could match that number, if only we could ignite the passion and relentless dedication to make it happen: support group by support group, peer-run service by peer-run service, town by town, county by county, state by state. Every single person matters. Every. Single. Person. Matters.

I can walk the halls of Congress and try all kinds of ways to persuade. But they won’t listen to me alone. Your elected representatives from Congress need to hear from YOU before (and after) they will truly listen to me. I am not their constituent; you are. Your voice matters so much more than mine. I merely amplify and clarify and put a face to the cause. You are what matters most. Your voice matters. But only if you use it.

I take very seriously my responsibility to represent you to our elected officials. Even when we lose. Especially when we lose. And losing can sometimes be what it takes to galvanize people into action. I have used losing a legislative battle to win great success in the past; more than once. I know it is possible.

Our cause remains righteous. We will not compromise the lives of those among us who need the most help: people whose lives are filled with desperation, who need someone to shine a spotlight on their plight. Plus all the thousands and thousands among us who have found recovery, hope, strength, a life worth living on their own terms. So many of us have persevered through terrible, daunting odds. We are the evidence, indeed.

My hat is off to all of you who have labored tirelessly in our movement—some of you for decades, and many, if not most, of you as volunteers! But our movement is badly resource-starved. We need to change that. The future demands it of us.

We need to get the grassroots ready, at a moment’s notice, to act when H.R. 2646 hits the floor of the House. My call to action is linked twice above; here it is again.

Everybody needs to call their representatives in the House to say that we oppose everything about H.R. 2646. Organize calling parties! All members of the House are fair game. As you know, Speaker Paul Ryan called recess early because of the sit-in organized by House Democrats to demand a vote on gun control. But they will return. In the meantime, you can contact their district offices.

We also need to focus on the Senate, which will be considering S. 2680 very soon. You will need to call your Senators and tell them to pass S. 2680 without amendments. They will likely be pressured to add/amend language from H.R. 2646 if we allow it. We need to tell them that H.R. 2646 is unacceptable in its entirety.

The Senate version of “mental health reform,” S. 2680, is much less toxic than the House version.  It is not what we want. However, it is the very best we can get at this moment. But it will not happen magically. It will be hard-fought.

Don’t get discouraged; get determined.

We will likely need to address whatever happens with S. 2680 and H.R. 2646 in conference committee. If we are lucky the bills will wait until the fall, and then who knows? But it is just as likely that the Senate and House will need to hash out differences between the two bills very shortly. We need our issues to be aired.

If you are prepared to act on the above, it will help. Everything helps. Don’t just sit and read this. Don’t succumb to feeling like our views do not matter and that we are too marginalized to be heard. We have to make our views matter. They won’t matter if we don’t insist.

I’ve been looking for data about our grassroots muscle power: how strong is it? After sitting through the markup for HR 2646, I learned that the current grassroots pulse is not good. We need lots more muscle power. We need more people who care about our rights, our needs, our values.

In order to effect real change, we need to start early and stay vigilant throughout the entire legislative process. We need to get better organized.

We need:

  1. More people recruited into action: voter registration and transportation, candidates’ forums, developing ongoing relationships with elected officials…over the long haul, not on a crisis basis! We are matched against thousands of family members. We do not have the numbers. But I believe we can get them. With everybody helping.
  2. More advocacy training.
  3. Better resources and help for grassroots organizing to do the above.
  4. A really good PR machine.
  5. Serious fundraising to do the above.

June 15 was truly a wake-up call. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves and opt out of the political process. We need to get our own issues and values out there.

Beginning next January, we will have a new Congress. Let’s get ready for it now.

We must use this time to recruit, educate, organize and activate our grassroots. It’s the only way. It’s the way the civil rights movement made an impact. It’s the way the women’s movement made an impact. It’s the way the LGBTQ community has made an impact. President Obama just designated the area around the Stonewall Inn in New York City as a national monument to LGBT rights. Where is our monument? We need voices. Insistent voices. Not just on a crisis basis. All the time.

So many courageous leaders started this movement decades ago and made tremendous progress. I bow my head in sorrow, but with such respect, for Pat Risser, whose death on June 15 diminished our movement and who was one amazing soul among many who rang the bell of justice. We all are standing on the shoulders of giants. Let’s honor their legacy with action, tenacity, discipline, clear hearts and raised voices. We want—no, we insist upon—change.

This isn’t the end; it’s the beginning of a new phase. I feel so honored to be part of this movement. I believe we have the potential to make significant changes and to advance our agenda, which was given lip service in the 1960s but has never been adequately funded or supported politically to do what we know works. It’s on us. Nobody will do it for us. We have sympathizers, but it’s on us.

Despite the discouraging news on June 15, I feel strongly that our time has come. We need to rise to the occasion. We need t show resolve that the violation of our rights and the maintenance of a coercive, traumatizing, horribly over-medicalized, too-late-to-divert-crises system are unacceptable. We cannot back down. We cannot be cowed. We are survivors. We need to be better involved in the process of democracy.

As the great labor leader Joe Hill famously said, “Don’t mourn. Organize.”

Thank you to all of you who did act, who did make the calls, who did your part in making a difference. You are heroes. And I ask that each of you go out tomorrow and find at least three to five more heroes.

It is easy to give in to being discouraged. But I now have more resolve than ever. I’m ready to fight. And I’m so grateful to all of you for being there on the barricades with me.


Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.


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Val Marsh, MSW
Valerie L. Marsh, MSW, is Executive Director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR). Marsh received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond (VCU), Virginia, where her graduate studies focused on mental health policy, administration and planning. She served as an adjunct faculty member at VCU, teaching policy, advocacy and human behavior to graduate and undergraduate students in social work. As the Executive Director of NAMI-Virginia from 1994-2004, Marsh shown a spotlight on abuse, neglect, and unnatural deaths in Virginia’s public psychiatric hospitals. Her accomplishments include a successful campaign to transform the state’s protection and advocacy organization into an independent entity; limiting time served by misdemeanants found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity; increasing Medicaid financial eligibility criteria benefiting consumers previously ineligible; and creating a mandate for mental health boards and advisory committees to include representation of mental health consumers and family members.


  1. Thank you, Val, great article. If you really want good change in the mental health system that actually helps people struggling with life’s challenges get political. Whether you do not like politics or your local representative or state senator it does not matter, but getting involved and active in having your voice heard by him/her does. Otherwise as we have seen other people with different interests will get their voice heard and laws concerning coercive treatment toward those who are vulnerable and need good care and treatment will prevail. Email, call or write your legislators on this issue. It is easy to do. Democracy in action, do your part please to stop this hurtful legislator. We can do better than this.

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  2. I’d love to contact my congressman and urge him to vote against this bill but that wouldn’t do any good since he WROTE the bill. I’d also like to vote against him in November, but in our gerrymander district that is majority Republican he runs unopposed. Dr. Murphy also collects millions of dollars from the Pham industry and is paying them back with the legislation. This is nothing but a giveaway to big Pharm at the expense of community mental health. It won’t be long before this bill, WHEN PASSED, will be used as a weapon against those that oppose the medical, political, and industrial establishment. It comes down to my Congressman wanting to forcibly institutionalize me and subject me to treatment with harmful drugs and shock “therapy” . This is something you’d expect from the Old Soviet Union, not the USA in 2016!

    it would only be symbolic but I’d like to see Dr. Murphy lose his license over this unethical and inhuman legislation.

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  3. There will be some form of mental health reform bill passed. Politically the Congress has been shamed for not doing anything and they will do this to demonstrate that they are actually working. The new bill will be watered down, it is only a concession, after all. I am in favor of the original Murphy Bill; a bit concerned about how it will be implemented and enforced because much legislation is not enforced once it has been passed; such as the restraining of pregnant women in prison. It is still going on as is probably sterilization as part of plea bargaining

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  4. Val, my parents joined NAMI back in the 1980’s and my dad was NAMI chair in Massachusetts for a term. Both are deceased now. My dad was instrumental in getting Metropolitan State Hospital (next door to McLean) closed down in 1992. I think my having been there and written a lengthy document about my experience there in 1986 influenced his decision in regard to the state hospitals. We all knew these places were worse than prisons. I know my dad would be rolling over in his grave right now if he knew about the Murphy Bill. Before he died he heard Judi Chamberlin speak and he urged me to meet people in the “alternative” groups. He told me he felt that human rights was very important. I remember looking at him through my drugged haze and resisting, thinking that I disliked history, disliked politics in general, and figured none of it had to do with my “brain disorder” anyway. Sadly, I know now years later that this nonexistent “brain disorder” was paid for in the millions or possibly billions by my family and taxpayers, and by my own three and a half decades of life sacrificed to the System.

    As creative writer I am doing my part by writing and speaking about my own experience, what I have learned, and a bit of hindsight that might warn others to stay away from the trap I ended up in.

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  5. Thanks Val for your efforts. I especially am interested in your time at NAMI. I tiried but they have been so coopted that it is impossible to have them come on board as allies. This will be hard to gather up the troops because we have the fear of being pink slipped. Some folks say bring another pair of clothes with you a tall times but I am not that brave.
    We really need allies like the LBQT communities have. Maybe an AIDS like quits with no names but stories and dates of birth and death and try to bring into Congress!
    You really need a concerted resistance movement and I would look at the tactics of World War II folks. But again beware because the effort produced the lovely but tragic White Rose Society.But Meip Giess survived after helping the Frank family so it can and should be done regardless.
    How to put grass works into action with so many detriments to organizing?
    Posters on telephone polls? In public bathrooms? Something almost silent with three at most.Then showing up when the bill gets heard in massive ways. Again Saul Alinsky comes to mind. He would not take a challenge on unless he felt he had a s trong chance of overcoming the barriers.
    Short wave radio?
    Please let us know when the bill is about to be heard and give us time to think on joining. You shouldn’t have to do this by yourself.Lets get sewing!

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    • Re: Posters on telephone polls? In public bathrooms?

      Thats really a good idea, many many people currently being harmed by psychiatry have no idea there is organized opposition, one poster that gets lots of views could inform many people.

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  6. I won’t be upset if the Murphy Bill passes, like the old saying goes give them enough rope and they will hang themselves.

    This is not to suggest not taking action against this but I think if this bill passes it will only create more survivor activists and will turn even more people and ‘patients’ against the system. There are always unintended consequences especially when the government tries to solve problems.

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    • Lots of people could be damaged by this who won’t have the capacity to fight back once drugged.

      I do encourage people to call right-wing talk radio and put out the issues. Liberals aren’t going to help us for the most part, don’t kid yourselves.

      Also if someone could compile a list of what congresspeople to call by state, district or even zip code it could be very helpful for people who would otherwise not do so.

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      • But, as I sat there, I wondered why we were so easily outmaneuvered. And I realized that, as the saying goes, “Size matters.”

        Size in this case is a function of funding. NAMI no doubt has endless $$ coming from Big Pharma which we can never match. It’s going to take more than good arguments to win this.

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        • While I know it is very difficult in a movement like ours, it does strike me as important to consider resorting to a highly disciplined and sustained civil disobedience campaign. Something that can be done when one can’t compete with the funding or the numbers but the cause is just — as it so clearly is here.

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          • I don’t think their is going to be any highly disciplined and sustained civil disobedience campaign.

            Maybe if people working in the system refuse to do there jobs but don’t even get me started on the just doing my job thing.

            Someone once said the pen is mightier then the sword a wile back and now we have this internet and keyboards so I think we keep at it exposing the lies and fraud of the industry and keep chipping away at their credibility.

            Maybe lawyers can challenge the final Murphy laws Constitutionality after it passes ?

            I have also always had this idea for a fill in the blanks file your own lawsuit for survivors of inpatient abuses after the lawyers wouldn’t take my case without a few thousand up front.
            The idea is a ready made lawsuit with instructions just fill out names and dates and what happened and file it. Get them in court tell a jury.

            Print it out or even better a website that generates the lawsuit ready to file after you answer questions like was your hearing on time (mine wasn’t = false imprisonment) … All your rights did you get them ? … what happened.

            Make patient abuse expensive for them.

            Lund vs. Northwest Medical Center, (Case No. Civ. 1805-95, Court of Common Pleas, Venango County, PA, June 16, 2003), jury awarded $1,100,000 million in damages.

            Marion vs. LaFargue Case No. 00 Civ. 0840, 2004 WL 330239, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, February 23, 2004), jury verdict of $1,000,001 in damages.

            Dick vs. Watonwan County (Case No. Civ. 4-82-1.16, U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, April 11, 1983), more than $1 million in damages awarded to plaintiff.

            I don’t exactly know how to put it all together, maybe some reading this does but if a way is created to make it easy for the average victim to sue those psychiatric hell holes it will have a nice impact on the way they do things.

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          • I don’t think their is going to be any highly disciplined and sustained civil disobedience campaign.

            Not to tell you what you should do, as I wouldn’t want people telling me what to do, but…nothing in history ever happens as a result of people sitting around waiting for it to happen, it only happens when they decide to act on it. So doing nothing while pointing and saying “See, nothing’s happening” is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy.

            I believe however that it is an objective reality that no one will pay serious attention to us until the psychiatric industry feels threatened enough to strip off the velvet gloves and expose its essence, i.e., violence and repression. (Most arrests are violent by definition even when no one gets hurt, as they are carried out under threat of violent force.)

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          • If you could sue these places out of existence, that would be great, but I don’t see it happening. I think we need some highly visual actions undertaken by people with enough clout to reach the media. Individual actions aren’t going to take us very far. It’s too easy for them to be completely suppressed. Planned actions, undertaken by a number of people, that’s something else. One action alone wouldn’t do it either. We will need to be systematic about the matter. An underplayed obstacle is conflict of interest within the movement, I hesitate to say “ours”. Working in the system can and does interfere with doing anything about it.

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          • I agree with your general thrust but not all the specifics. You’re used to some of this but for those who aren’t:

            actions undertaken by people with enough clout to reach the media

            Interesting phrasing, possible double-entendre. “Actions with enough clout” makes sense if the focus is on the “action” part and not based on personalities. “People with enough clout to reach the media” not so much. Media is drawn by drama and chaos, or the threat of chaos, not by personalities for the most part, unless they’re very famous or very infamous. They’re also not drawn by people making academic arguments and citing statistics; there’s definitely a time and place for that but this wouldn’t be one of them (unless it’s to back up the action in the form of press release material).

            Individual actions aren’t going to take us very far. It’s too easy for them to be completely suppressed.

            Individual actions within the context of a larger effort which are supported and publicized by the larger network can have a place, especially when we have no centralized organization and need to utilize whatever energy is available as effectively as possible.

            Working in the system can and does interfere with doing anything about it.

            Except when it doesn’t. Take the author of this piece, who appears to be more practically organized and committed to fighting this than most of the people here, “survivors” included. Although I will always gag at the phrase “consumer of mental health services” we are talking about a coalition here, with the one purpose for its existence being stopping Murphy. The rest becomes largely ideological clutter that impedes working effectively towards that end.

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    • What if you give them plenty of rope and they don’t hang themselves?

      I’ve had the same thought, and it’s sort of an, “I wish”, type of thing. I don’t think this bill is guaranteed to turn out psychiatric survivor activists, and the reverse could be the result. I don’t think anything is written in stone.

      Lots of people are damaged anyway. The resistance exists, but it has become increasingly easy for some folks to ignore it. Will more people be damaged? Undoubtedly, but more people are damaged every time a DMS revision is published, too.

      I’m not saying play dumb. I think people need to fight on, and hope for the best.

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    • I believe society’s insane pressure on parents to raise perfect children with perfect parenting methods is the root cause of mental illness. Out of control perfectionism causes extreme stress and kids get stressed out when they witness their parents getting stressed out. And research has proven that extreme stress induces mental illness…

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      • I believe you get straight to the heart of it, Victoria. And I agree, pressure to be perfect–which I feel is alive and kicking in our society–is literally insane-making.

        Most people will say philosophically, “Nobody’s perfect,” but in practice, it does seem to be demanded from us, we demand it from ourselves, and we end up demanding it from others. Not always overtly, perhaps, but we have little to no tolerance for mistakes, differences, uniqueness, and the general imperfection that we and life are, inherently. That makes life treacherous and dreadful (as in, we dread each move forward for fear of making mistakes), and in the long run, people wind up drained, bitter, suffering because of this.

        I think a step in the right direction is stop expecting perfection from ourselves and others, and to celebrate our IMperfections, as this is what makes us human. When we punish or shame imperfections, mistakes, differences, etc., and call them “problems” or “issues” or “disorders,” then we basically invalidate ourselves big time and create a negative self-perception, leading to utter frustration and feelings of failure, which needn’t be the case. We do not have to measure ourselves according to society’s judgments. When we go easy on ourselves and others, we walk toward inner peace, as well as a more peaceful and tolerant society.

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          • I can’t think of anything more truer. Just took a deep breath of relaxation on that. Thank you, Victoria, I think once we get this in unison, then the world will begin to change for the better 🙂

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          • But research also points out that there’s both good stress and bad stress… I have a feeling we can research the mind forever and humanity will STILL debate how the mind works! The mind appears to be a whole universe in and of itself…

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          • Yes I’d agree with that, stress can be motivating, in that we strive to do better–but for our own sake regarding our own goals, desires and visions, not to avoid judgment or to fit in–especially if it is a toxically demanding society! That, to me, would be the ‘bad stress,’ worrying about judgments. We disempower ourselves that way, and focus away from our goals as a result.

            Given the vastly divergent perspectives on people and humanity that we’re dealing with, here, I’d say you’re right, that dialogue would go on forever. We each see a piece of it our way.

            The mind vs. the universe, hmmm, so much to say about that! Both the same thing? Who knows?

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          • And thank YOU, Alex, for giving me YOUR insight! I enjoyed our back and forth dialogue, you helped me define which stress is good and which stress is bad. Sadly, you’re right… stress induced by the toxic nature of society’s strict rules about what we should be, do and say (our false identity!) is bad stress, but the great news is that we have the power to live our lives in tune with our REAL identity!

            And I know you signed off (I’m about to myself) but I just want to add that I believe the mind IS a mini universe, the microcosm to the macrocosm… as above, so below! It’s only a theory of course, but it’s fascinating to reflect on! Later! 🙂

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        • HaHa! I agree, your mistake made the perfect point! Thanks for the laugh, I have a perfection reflex too… it takes me forever to write these short replies because I perfect them to death! Education in America teaches us mistakes are bad, but how in the world can we discover new, revolutionary ideas if we’re afraid to make mistakes?

          Without mistakes, world travel wouldn’t exist because the invention of airplanes was a process of mistakes evolving into perfection. Far better than exploring the world, though, is exploring the mind and I hope all those mistakes about the mind evolves as well as the airplane has evolved!

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          • Oh gosh, will this never end…”skillfully SHARING.”

            I’m just gonna make myself sign off and sit with this. I’m also a horrible perfectionist, and I’m obviously trying to learn a lesson here! I just need to sit with it all now and let all that stress to pass…LOL.

            Thank you again, this has been meaningful in multiple ways!

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      • Victoria, That may be true for you, but it’s not true for all of us and it’s not true across all cultures. It may be a cause for a few kids to get upset, but there are many causes of growing up problems because growing up is upsetting in general. It’s supposed to be upsetting because if it isn’t, you don’t get through it and you don’t really grow. Growing up should be honored as sacred, not turned into a disease. I can tell you my own parents did not demand perfection from me. They were not like that. I wasn’t obsessed over it, either.

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        • Hi Julie, you make a great point! I should be careful about putting everyone in the same box. My parents didn’t expect perfection from me, either, but I did feel shamed for being unique (imperfect) by the school system. But you’re right, just because that was my experience, doesn’t mean it was everyone’s experience! Thank you for disagreeing with me, you have opened my eyes to other possibilities 🙂

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      • I agree, Frank. More protests, more visibility in any way we can. I’d say getting the word out in a way that people actually notice. This could mean film, art, drama, music. Or it could mean going into the open mics and doing a three-minute comedy act if you are funny and like performing (I do!). Plays that get produced get an audience. Write blogs (I do!). Get on You-Tube and speak out (I do!). Write fiction. Children’s literature will shape our future leaders. Think of the power in that. Think of the power in cartoons. All these things help. Or just talk to people at the bus stop for starters.

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        • I’m afraid people don’t care about this stuff, and the only thing that would grab any kind of mass attention needed to stop Murphy would have to have the drama of people putting their lives and freedom on the line to stop the machine. I’m not saying that I’m personally volunteering to be one of those people, but I’m trying to be realistic. People don’t care about us or understand what we’re saying, and it would be a mistake to think that we will win anything simply because we’re right.

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          • And that’s precisely the problem, oldhead… There are way more experts saying we’re wrong than experts saying we’re right. The public has been conditioned to believe that only so-called “experts” with top-notch degrees (psychiatrists and psychologists) have expertise in mental health, so those of us who have firsthand experience of mental health issues are ignored!

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  7. I sent in an article which I hope will get noticed into MIA regarding what it’s like to live post-lithium. It is not good quality of life. It is meant to help other people if they are thinking their docs and the drug companies are being honest and upfront. It is meant to address the “tradeoff” fallacy. If MIA doesn’t publish it I can send it elsewhere. It looks like the FDA misfiled my 27-page comment to them I sent to the the Boston Globe and I am not going to stop…Oh, I suppose till I die.

    It must have been three years ago, almost to the day, that my psychiatrist threatened me in her office, telling me my writing was a threat to Massachusetts General Hospital, making me a “liability problem” and therefore, I “needed drugs.”

    I told her to go screw.

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  8. Am I correct in my understanding that the vast majority of long term adult use of psychiatric drugs is voluntary, zero physical coercion being used? And then so what drives this, misinformation, misunderstanding, and the desire to avoid feeling the pain of life, as it is with alcohol and street drugs?

    And then with the drugging of children I say that it always has to be considered forced.

    So is there a problem in that the drug manufacturing and the providing of doctor services are a for profit industry, and that most of the time it is just serving the desires of the parents? I say yes.


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  9. Yeah but fleishra (not sure I am spelling your screen name right) we have to remember that the propaganda spewed by organizations such as Mental Health America (oh geez) is sidetracking the issue by “reassuring” the public that “antidepressants are not addictive.” This is to state that they are not opiods. True, They aren’t. The fact is that many start them and then find they cannot get off them. Does that mean addiction? Are they splitting hairs and completely missing the point that the drugs destroy many body organs and cause permanent damages and can also cause violent behavior? If ever you have permanent organ damage (I do!) do not expect any doc to even admit it’s from the drugs. Don’t expect them to even own up to damages once you start showing signs of ill health. It’s “to be expected,” right? So if you die young, who will care? You were going to drop dead anyway. Unless we put up a stink. My biggest life fear now that I am over 50 is not dying but that the message I am saying will die when I do, and be forgotten.

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  10. Precisely, Victoria. The denial of our expertise is a basic human rights violation. It is permeating the medical profession as a whole. “Ask your doctor” is baloney. Why not ask yourself? As soon as a person gets the slightest tummy ache they assume that the answer lies somewhere within the mysteries of medical science. And the doors to this scientific knowledge are closed to all except the privileged MDs, the gods. Thus we become their slaves. This should never happen. Freeing oneself from this nonsensical belief is not so easy. We’ve been brainwashed to ignore our bodies and defer to “medical opinion.” This is why there is more sickness in Western society, not less, as response to the mythology of doctor expertise.

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    • So true, Julie! It’s a myth that doctors are healers. You’re right, the opposite is true… doctors tend to harm their patients! I’m taking meds now and yes, it’s harming me, but society makes it SO difficult to stop… I’m hoping to stop with my psychiatrist’s support, NOT behind her back. Hiding from my psychiatrist (and everyone else pressuring me to take meds) stresses me out too much and too much stress induces my so-called mental illness.

      I find it interesting that your greatest fear is not death, but having your message forgotten upon death. That reveals a lot about how sacred life truly is, but until society sees the invisible gift of mental “illness,” nothing will be seen as sacred…

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      • Victoria they love to brainwash us and brainwash us. It’s a myth that stress is bad and that we need to do all kinds of cleansing rituals to “reduce” it and make it go away. Think on that one. What kind of sense does that make, really? Reduce stress? See, they brainwash patients into thinking stress is bad. But what if that, too, is not true?

        If there’s no adolescence, no stormy time of life to get through, then how do we grow? Growth might sting a bit but wouldn’t it be great if we could go back to honoring that angst and heartache of youth as sacred and stop turning it into a disease? Yes while “he loves me, he loves me not” as a growth phase sucks bad, if we do not go through that phase we are deprived of a learning experience.

        Changing one’s mind hurts because it involves grieving. The grief is inevitable. “I was wrong.” We have the right to change our minds and also we need to stand by our past decisions as we made them, and also to say “I now do not agree with my past decision” and not be condemned for that. After all, we might have new information now, or a change of heart. Saying you are wrong is hard, and turning around and saying to other people that you made a terrible mistake is not easy. You can expect rejection but be persistent. Others may not understand and in fact this process is a lengthy one. It is a testament to your sanity, not to your “mental illness” (which as you say does not exist) that you stand by what you believe in. It is a testament to your sanity to assert that you still have the right to make mistakes and to change your mind. You make mistakes, you are sad or angry or grieve because you are human. Not because you are diseased. We no longer have to give fake diseases any further credit for these things we are naturally entitled to.

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        • Wow Julie, I never saw it that way! I always believed stress was either good or bad. I avoid bad stress to make my suicidal depression go away. But on second thought, why am I so depressed even when I’m relaxing (and on meds)? Perhaps my mind is a messenger warning that I need to take action and improve my reality before I can relax. Suicidal depression (and even psychosis) are a sane reaction to an insane reality!

          I was badly bullied in my childhood, so I grew up seeing the dangers all around me. The world IS a scary place, that’s not a delusion at all. I was bullied in the hospital, too, forced into the isolation room and forcibly injected with the needle against my will. And they say I’m supposed to see the world as a safe place? Does it REALLY mean I’m crazy or paranoid if I see the world as a dangerous place? They say I myself am a danger?! Now THAT’S crazy!

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  11. To All — (If at first you don’t succeed) — If people want to try again to come up with some strategies & tactics to defeat Murphy in the Organizing Forum, I just started a new Murphy organizing thread. Add your thoughts if you think you might have some.

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  12. To repeat, we also need is a list of credentialed allies who are willing not only to write articles but to testify in court for people who are about to have their lives destroyed based on uncontested junk science presented by the Torrey-ites et al. If certain bio-psych arguments could be roundly refuted to the point of raising reasonable doubt in the minds of court-committing judges, and a few people could be sprung, these arguments could then be the basis for class action and ultimately a court challenge to the medical model itself and the legitimacy of courtroom psychiatric testimony.

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  13. Thanks for the important article. I agree that opposing the Murphy Bill is very important from a mental health reform perspective.

    I’ve been following the Libertarian party’s presidential campaign recently and have been thinking about how the advancement of the Libertarian philosophy into mainstream American politics could do a lot to reform the culture of psychiatry that readers and writers here at MIA are highly critical of.

    I was wondering what people’s thoughts are concerning the relationship between Libertarianism and Critical Psychiatry.


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  14. Here we go again folks — This thread will soon be history, but Murphy won’t be. Right now Julie and I are talking to each another and no one else in the Organizing forum, which soon will be the only place on the active MIA site to discuss Murphy in a semi-organized way.

    Val, your participation & suggestions would be most valuable as you seem to be one of the few people sufficiently hooked in to this.

    People don’t even need to be anti-psychiatry to participate, just anti-Murphy.


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  15. great article, val. astute.

    this scares the shit out of me. the us public community mental health system will be dismantled and destroyed as we know it. samhsa/cmhs will have a tzar who is appointed by murphy. larry fricks recently spoke positively about the fact that the bill holds $10m for peer services. i shook my head upon hearing fricks speak excited about $10m. why doesn’t larry donate the $10m via a personal check, then, to offer more $$$ towards it, i wonder? having a monopoly on being the largest american certif peer specialist curricula and training that remains propietary in the majority of the us states, surely shouldn’t prevent that. give and give alike. whats wrong with this picture?

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  16. I cannot see the newsletter. I noticed SSA-2016-0011 is worded as to state that those with “mental illness” who are on SSDI will be now included in the criminal background check. Is this the one you are referring to? I noticed that they seem to have changed the wording because at first they were only including those who had had a “representative payee,” but now, it’s all those on disability who have had a diagnosis. This is very serious and I cannot seem to get anyone to notice. I think they are doing this deliberately over the weekend while people are on vacation, so no one will have the chance to mobilize and organize. This literally paralyzes anyone who has ever been on disability for supposed MI, because now we are excluded from even more jobs and housing. It’s GENOCIDE!

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    They’re cynically exploiting the July 4 holiday to catch us bleary-eyed on TUESDAY which is the ONLY day that people have to mount a massive phone campaign before the vote WEDNESDAY.

    Does anyone have contact info for Val Marsh? She may not even know about this.

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    In case you haven’t heard the House is trying to vote on Murphy Wednesday!

    Everyone SHOULD BE OUTRAGED at what they’re doing here. It is a WELL KNOWN FACT that when politicians want to do or say something unpopular with the least people noticing they release the press release late Friday afternoon so that it either gets ignored or forgotten by the following Monday. Or in this case, by the day after the Fourth of July, our celebration of “freedom.”

    It would be admirable to see people using their contacts over the holiday to mobilize a phone campaign on TUESDAY, the ONLY day this could have any effect. It should be repeatedly asked WHY if Murphy is so great they’re trying to sneak it through while people are distracted by the holiday? People should demand a full debate before congress, and not some punk maneuver like this.


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    Whatever ANYONE IS DISCUSSING should be put on the back burner for a day or two and everyone should be preparing to call about Murphy TUESDAY, plus telling their friends & contacts. See above post.

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    • Some talking points and tips for calling your congressmen at the top of the page here: http://www.ncmhr.org/

      Also, I’m wondering if it would be better to target our calls . Ideally we would be contacting everyone, but wondering if on this short notice it may make sense to especially focus on reaching congressmen who are NOT cosponsors of the bills (which unfortunately is a lot of them, including my own congressman). We may have more influence with them.

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      • wondering if on this short notice it may make sense to especially focus on reaching congressmen who are NOT cosponsors of the bills

        I agree and would like to hear what Val Marsh thinks about this tactically speaking.

        I’m thinking a reasonable demand would be to not hold a vote until a full debate of the bill can take place on the House floor, and we have sufficient notice to prepare.

        I think it is a reflection of the bill’s vulnerability that they’re trying to sneak the vote through while no one’s looking.

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        • Yes, but who would advocate for a debate before a vote? While I can see who the cosponsors are, my googling has not yielded any congressmen who have expressed opposition to the bill. My guess is you’d have to find someone who is already opposed to it to get that kind of action, not someone who needs to be convinced the bill is bad in the first place.

          Agree, the timing is very suspect. I also think they are taking advantage of the Orlando shooting/gun control sit-ins by the Democrats to make it seem like they are doing something about violence (An important talking point for phone calls should be that data show the “mentally ill” are not more likely to be violent).

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          • First of all, the timing is not “suspect,” it’s as blatant as it could possibly be. The late Friday press release is the oldest trick in the book, so obvious that if they wanted to be upfront they would avoid doing this even if only for appearances.

            However, it’s a clear ploy on their part, and as such becomes another possible liability for them if they’re pressed on why they’re being so sneaky, and then pressed on whatever lies they tell in response. If their lies are exposed on one level it raises doubt about the credibility of everything else they say.

            I’m afraid the ploy is working however — as was calculated by the Murphy fiends, many of the MIA staff and other advocates who work 9-5 may not even find out about this until Tuesday.

            I wish Val Marsh would reappear to answer the tactical questions you’re raising about who to call and how to approach them, they are important considerations. The sponsors may not be worth arguing with about the bill but the less fanatical ones might have the decency to not want it obviously being railroaded through without the opportunity for public input. Lobbying isn’t my specialty though. 🙂

            Meanwhile till MIA or someone comes through let’s just keep talking about this in public, even if we’re the only ones.

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          • I am no lobbying expert either, but I too am hoping our dialogue will at least get some attention from others and move them to start thinking. I agree with you that Tuesday is really too late to start, so I am hoping that others who see this thread are not waiting for something from MIA to start thinking about their talking points, who else they know that would be willing to call, etc.

            I really, really hope everyone will come out and make some calls on Tuesday.

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    • I haven’t. Likely Sera has, and will make the connection with the under-the-radar Murphy machinations taking place this weekend as we speak. These articles are psy-ops to soften up the populace with propaganda to dehumanize the scapegoat/enemy (us!) prior to the legislative assault.

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      • It’s all about AOT, and why it’s so terrible that Massachusetts doesn’t have it, and how forced care will protect innocent people who would be alive now (sic) um…..like tell that to all our friends who are now dead from the drugs. Or permanently harmed. Or facing early death or living with poor quality of life due to force or coercion. Boston Globe needs to be ashamed of itself but they are not listening. Clearly a cog in the big wheel.

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  20. Hi, At first I was not able to see that .pdf file. Something about it not being posted yet. Can someone say where and how it was obtained? And how you know it’s real, and not a forgery? This kind of thing has been done before, too, mobilizing the opposition on false pretense, getting them to gather up their munitions and ready for battle, then of course it was all a trick, just one more way to overpower and outnumber.

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        • Sorry I questioned. Just wanting to make sure. Crap, the Boston Globe is doing this deliberately. I think my kid brother used to deliver it by bicycle, too. I did, too, for a week or two when another kid was on vacation. Well, toss the darned thing far, far away now.

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          • No problem, it’s good to be sure. Boston Globe actually didn’t announce the vote. I read about it yesterday morning from a commenter discussing the two terrible articles and decided to do some digging to see if it was actually true (like you). But I wouldn’t at all be surprised if their articles (especially the second one) were deliberately put out to coincide with the vote . If you go on Murphy’s FB page, there’s an article from Monday about how the vote was likely to occur next week. Wish MIA had the heads up…

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          • But I wouldn’t at all be surprised if their articles (especially the second one) were deliberately put out to coincide with the vote .

            Now you got it. As for what you mention, I don’t know where all the Murphy-watchers were, but still to announce it this way is standard procedure.

            Will someone explain this thing about “legislation considered under suspension of the rules”? What is this?


            Do professional “advocates” not work on weekends and holidays?

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          • Oldhead, per wikipedia, suspension under the rules is used to quickly pass “non-controversial” bills. Doesn’t bode good. I know it passed 53-0 (immediately post-Orlando shooting), whereas the markup in the fall had most Democrats voting against it.

            I get the feeling this more universal support is due to the Orlando shootings, so it seems to me one of the talking points needs to be that studies show “mental illness” is not associated with violence. I don’t know if we will just be dismissed for talking about how many of these mass killings are linked to the psychtropics they want to force, but that would be an important point if they actually listened to it.

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          • Oh yeah, I wouldn’t even bother with the ones who are putting out the propaganda. But my fear is that the more reasonable ones may be swept up in that propaganda since we had a recent mass shooting and feel compelled to vote for it because they think they are doing something about violence (so it may help if we remind them that “mental illness” is not associated with violence).

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        • My “paranoid” analysis is that the tricksters behind this know very well that even their own statistics show their logic to be completely invalid on their own terms. Murphy is openly conflating this with Sandy Hook. This is pure fascism, the big lie. The ineffectiveness of our response so far has been largely due to the self-negating beliefs people harbor that they just aren’t explaining things clearly enough. We need to expose their lies and contradictions, not argue with their propaganda.

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          • Also like you mentioned it could be easier to turn some less messianic congresspeople in the direction of opposition to the preventive detention of nonviolent people, and respect for individual liberty.

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          • Reposting since I put comment in the wrong place.

            I wouldn’t even bother with the ones who are putting out the propaganda. But my fear is that the more reasonable ones may be swept up in that propaganda since we had a recent mass shooting and feel compelled to vote for it because they think they are doing something about violence (so it may help if we remind them that “mental illness” is not associated with violence).

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          • When Kermit said there would be a blog I hope he didn’t think that having it by Tuesday would be sufficient. I’ve seen things posted on weekends and holidays before that were much les urgent.

            It also needs to be covered independently as news. I sent them the release, might nag them once more before I crash.

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  21. Okay. Murphy’s didn’t, but clearly they are, since I saw that on Kevin McCarthy’s listing of agenda. Wow, Murphy’s mailing is all full of stickers for NAMI etc, almost looking like email advertising. Ask your doctor! Come get your pills! Hmm…..

    As for the typeset, it really did look weird until I turned off the visual aids I use. Ha ha.

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  22. DR. MURPHY SPEAKS (though not all that grammatically):

    “Psychosis is not ‘non-consensus reality’- it is a symptom of an illness that with appropriate medical treatment is the difference between life and death.”

    — from Murphy’s July 1 “Sneak Attack” Press Release

    Has he been reading about Open Dialogue and feeling threatened? They would probably be very accepting of his “word-salad” attempts at communicating.

    Or maybe he’s itching to take on the MIA comment section?

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