Well, our government is at it again.
It is not clear if this is the last stop, or where in the process we even are, but as best I can tell: happening any moment, Congressman Tim Murphy (R, Pennsylvania) will be making another speech at another hearing about the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) which is now part of a new bill, H.R. 34.
H.R. 2646 was the controversial legislative package that did everything from increasing and sanctioning state-sponsored forced and court-ordered psychiatry to the re-organization of SAMHSA. There was not a group that went unscathed: babies, pregnant and lactating women, children, teens, adults, and veterans. The mixing of drug experimentation, programming, payments, delivery, tracking systems, prison systems, psychiatric systems, medical systems, educational systems—everything accounted for in 996 pages.
This new bill, introduced on the day after Thanksgiving, November 25, 2016 is part of a pattern of the government trying to slip controversial psychiatric policy through when no one is thought to be watching. We recently saw this with the FDA’s shock treatment regulation for comment being released days before the new year and due the day after a celebrated holiday.
This bill, H.R. 34, the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015 [21st Century Cures Act] is the subject of a hearing at the Capitol, in H-313, tonight on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 5:00 PM. Among the most problematic issues this bill presents are multiple provisions for forced psychiatry not limited to IOC/AOT, ACT Teams, and Prison Psychiatry.
H.R. 34 also includes: SAMHSA reorganization, condoning of HIPPAA violations, electronic health records, a study of peer support specialists for future controls of the field, multiple attacks on young people and veterans, and a host of other potential human rights violations. Psychiatry is a fraud and this bill perpetuates it.
Tell your legislators to VOTE NO on H.R. 34!
Demand that your legislators stop sneaking controversial, damaging bills into other bills at the last minute. What is being called a “simple parliamentary procedure” seems rather shady to me. The legislature has not been able to pass some version of Murphy’s bill for years, and now they are going to try to sneak it in merged with the 21st Century Cures Act under the title Education, Research and Tsunami Warning Act of 2015. These actions further problematize our legislative processes.
It is urgent that people realize that no child will grow up without psychiatric evaluation. All people will become, in a generation or two, acclimated to being psychiatrized; psychiatry and its arms of drugs and institutions will become even more standard in our society.
At the very moment that people are becoming more vocal about the need for equality, eliminating racism and racist practices and systems, calling out sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of structural oppression, and addressing the outright fraud and other structural problems of psychiatry and its subdivisions, the government will solidify psychiatric practice in our society. This includes a great expansion of psychiatric reach into the prison industry and court systems.
Do not be fooled, this is a one way path that will allow the new administration the type of reach they want to keep us contained as they break down the existing structure, creating greater disparities, and further subjecting us, as a people who are already often oppressed, into further social control and subjugation to psychiatry.
Follow up with your legislators, and all legislators you can. Inform them about the dangers of psychiatry. Inform them about the dangers of this bill. Tell them that a bill that has been combined with multiple other bills totaling 996 pages (and involving who knows how many billions of dollars in taxpayer resources)—a bill that was introduced 3 business days prior to its hearing and 4 days prior to its assumed vote, under the name of a bill that has already passed, but has been deleted and replaced by this mess that has not been able to pass on its own for years—is not acceptable.
I am sure analyses of what the bill entails need to be made and many are working on making them. For now, take action. Call your elected officials today, tonight, tomorrow, and continue to do so to make your voice heard. The pro-psychiatry, pro-forced psychiatric treatment advocates are launching campaigns against us. We need to speak out, once again, for ourselves. No one else will. Make your calls now.
Those who want to take a closer look at this bill, please read on:
Even a cursory glance at the Table of Contents and the twenty-five titles it encompasses makes one have to take a deep breath to get the scope of how this bill can fundamentally transform our society—and not for the better.
Division A – 21st Century Cures starts off with Title I, NIH Innovation Projects and State Responses to Opioid Abuse. Title II includes Innovation Projects and includes privacy protections for human research subjects—a section called “High Risk, High Reward Research” is included here, as is the development of a “Taskforce specific to pregnant and lactating women.” These need to be read carefully.
Title III is Development and includes provisions such as patient-focused drug development, advancing new drug therapies, and a host of other sections designed for research on physical health.
Title V addresses Savings and this looks at issues of Medicare and Medicaid, and affects the Affordable Care Act.
Section VI looks at Leadership and Accountability and this is where the re-organization of SAMHSA is laid out and the provisions for the establishment of the “Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee” can be found.
Title VII is designed for “Ensuring mental and substance use disorders prevention, treatment, and recovery programs keep pace with science and technology” and has both regional and national goals.
Title VIII is for “Supporting state prevention activities and responses to mental health and substance use disorder needs” that work on block grants.
Title IX is for “Promoting access to mental health and substance use disorder care” and these include grants for “treatment and recovery for homeless individuals”; “jail diversion programs”; “promoting integration of primary and behavioral health care”; “National Suicide Prevention Line” and other types of programs that track and turn in people to the system, acting as a pipeline to psychiatry. Section 9014 is “Assisted outpatient treatment” and Section 9015 is the Assertive Community Treatment grant program. It is important for people to specifically speak out against Sections 9014 and 9015 as inherently problematic for protecting human rights.
Subtitle B of Title IX is focused on “Strengthening the Health Care Workforce” and this includes education and training programs. Subtitle C targets college campuses.
Title X is for “Strengthening mental and substance use disorder care for children and adolescents” and increases pediatric access, programming, treatment, and interventions for young people, “screening and treatment for maternal depression” and Section 10006 is particularly worrisome, “Infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment.”
Title XI is the loss of privacy rights under HIPAA (you may recall issues around Matsui’s bill that was basically incorporated into the structure).
Title XII further strengthens “Mental Health Parity” which works on the premise that psychiatry is as legitimate a science as physical health medicine, and perpetuates the fraud of the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries, ensuring also that training, education, information and awareness of eating disorders are covered under these processes.
Title XIII is for “Mental Health and Safe Communities” Subtitle A includes the expansion and over reach of Law Enforcement and Psychiatry working hand in hand through Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (torture) “Assisted Outpatient Commitment” (as a second section in this same bill, here Section 14002. Title XIII also includes “Federal drug and mental health courts”; “mental health in the judicial system”; “Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Initiatives”; “mental health training for Federal uniformed services”; “school mental health intervention teams”; “Active-shooter training for law enforcement”; “Improving Department of Justice data collection on mental illness involved in crime”; and “Reports on the number of mentally ill offenders in prison”, further attempting to discriminate against people with psychiatric histories. In this section, the limited patients’ rights for the Department of Veterans Affairs are noted, and this of course is and continues to be a concern; for example, we know veterans and their fetuses are being subjected to shock treatment.
Subtitle B focuses on “Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health” in prisons and jails, local and federal law enforcement training, and GAO reporting and needs to be looked at very carefully in the future.
Title XV addresses Medicare Part A and reimbursements. Title XVI, Medicare Part B and treatment/payments/ and Continuing Access to Hospitals Act of 2016; all of which need thorough review.
Title XVII includes other Medicare provisions and XVIII still other provisions around employer health reimbursement.
Division D is “Child and Family Services and Support” and includes Title XIX, “Investing in Prevention and Family Services”, restructuring prevention services, programs, and payments as they relate to foster care, and perhaps one of the few sensible things, Section 19032, “Development of a statewide plan to prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities.”
Title XXI looks also and securing support for foster families and children and Title XXII addresses “reauthorizing adoption and legal guardianship incentive programs.”
Title XXIII is for “Technical Corrections” for data and programming and “Technical corrections to State requirement to address the developmental needs of young children.”
Title XXIV is for “Ensuring states reinvest savings resulting from increase in adoption assistance” and like “Title XXV, Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results” and the extension of the TANF program and other types of social supports, this needs to be read and understood.
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.