A US Senate committee is supposed to approve a controversial Trump appointee this Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. You may not have heard about this in mainstream media, or even the alternative media, though I have been covering this topic for months!
The approval ceremony is scheduled for streaming on the US Senate HELP (Health Education Labor Pensions) Committee website. According to what I have heard, this HELP Committee will genuflect to power, and sign off on the appointment of psychiatrist Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz as the first Assistant Secretary of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), a powerful federal agency with a budget of close to four billion dollars annually.
This new “Mental Health Czar,” as it is popularly known, will preside over a SAMHSA that is supposed to be far more friendly to the mental health industry. For example, several leaders have said that SAMHSA will not fund the popular Alternatives Conference after August 2017 in Boston. For more than three decades, this annual gathering has brought together countless USA psychiatric survivors and mental health consumers who lead hundreds of empowering peer recovery programs.
For the past few years, SAMHSA has even begun to fund the support of Involuntary Outpatient Commitment, which often translates into court-ordered coercive psychiatric drugging of people living peacefully in their own homes. All the groups I know led by people who have been through the mental health system strongly oppose IOC.
I just heard from leaders at the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) that this apparently-automatic approval can be watched this Tuesday, August 1st; the link will go live about 15 minutes before the hearing, set for 2:30 EST.
It is not too late to speak out to your US Senators, especially if one is on the HELP Committee. Suggest that the HELP Committee ask Dr. McCance-Katz some tough questions.
Below are six steps you can take, including a link to find out who is on the HELP committee. Reaching your US Senators to oppose this nomination is easy but very urgent!
1. If you do not know who your two US Senators are or how to reach them, go here.
2. Send a web note to each Senator, it takes just a moment: “I oppose the Trump nomination for the new, powerful mental health position, Assistant Secretary to SAMSHA. The US Senate HELP Committee is supposed to ask psychiatrist Dr. Ellie McCance-Katz questions, here are nine questions.”
3. Add your own questions, if any. Copy and post your message, so we all know you speak out for human rights!
4. If your US Senator is on the Senate HELP (Health Education Labor Pensions) Committee, you have extra weight. The list of members is here.
5. For extra, phone up your US Senators. They have both local and D.C. offices. Get to know the staff people who work on health by their first name.
6. Spread the word via email, FB, comments on blogs, Twitter, etc.