Tag: HR 2646
There is indeed a crisis in the mental health business. The crisis derives from psychiatry's spurious and self-serving premise that all significant problems of thinking, feeling, and/or behaving are brain illnesses that are correctable by psychiatric drugs.
The Boston Globe paints a picture (in the vivid way that they so love to do) that pins the system’s decline primarily on budgetary issues, but there is more than one way for a system to be ‘broken.’ In fact, where the Globe goes most wrong in their latest piece, ‘Community Care,’ is in their failure to adequately recognize that the system has always been broken in one way or another in this country.
Organized psychiatry, committed irrevocably and wholeheartedly to drug pushing and to their corrupt and corrupting relationship with pharma, simply will not countenance the fact that their primary product is fundamentally flawed and destructive. So they hire a PR company; they fund and lobby politicians; they parrot slogans; and they encourage one another to ever-increasing heights of self-congratulation. But they will not commission a definitive study to clarify and assess the scale of this problem once and for all. And the reason for this inaction is because they know that it would be bad for business. It would "cause a lot of people to stop taking their medications."
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is calling upon all people of like minds, who care about individuals who need mental health services, to ACT. It is urgent. Please call your representative in the House of Representatives to vigorously oppose HR 2646 on Tuesday, July 5, 2016. And, call your Senator to insist that the Senate reject any amendments or changes to mental health legislation from the House by Friday, July 8, 2016. For more information about this Call to Action, please click here.
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!
This month the candidates for President compete in our State of Oregon, so this is a very good time to ask the following question: “How do you stand on the controversy of forced outpatient mental health drugs?” This is my 40th year working as an advocate for people labeled “disabled,” and I know that the topic of involuntary psychiatry can be a little complicated for people. After all, if one of our beloved family members becomes irrationally self-destructive, we can become desperate for help. However, this is such an important topic that we need to go deeper than just a bumper-sticker answer.
Writing for the Campaign for Real Change in Mental Health Policy, psychiatrist Coni Kalinowski implores others not to support the Murphy Bill “or any other legislation that encourages the use of involuntary outpatient commitment for psychiatric treatment.” “For 9 years, I trained and worked in Wisconsin where involuntary outpatient commitment has been used to force people into treatment for over 30 years, and I can tell you first hand, it does far more harm than good to individuals, it is very expensive, and it does not address the public health and safety issues that people hope it will.”
In our nation's history, in the face of fear, we have often risen to achieve noble goals. Other times we have behaved tragically — for instance, interning and seizing property from Japanese Americans during World War II. Certainly, there were spies among us then. Only in hindsight did we recognize that our treatment of the larger group — who were not — was gravely mistaken. We are on the verge of witnessing such an event in our own time.
As I write this, the New York Times is asking readers to respond to the question “What should be done to prevent mass shootings?” The more responses the New York Times receives from people who understand that the answer is gun control — not misguided legislation that would only harm those it purports to help — the more they will take notice. Please write!
Scapegoating the “mentally ill” every time violence or chaos breaks out allows us to absolve society of any blame. It allows us to ignore the problems that give rise to anger, distress, and violence (i.e., poverty, rejection, discrimination, oppression, injustice, abuse, etc) and instead focus on the one thing that can never be proven or defined and yet so easily can be identified in another. It provides relief without any reflection on how our society and way of life, and the inevitability of death, may be contributing to the terror that overwhelms us.
As a former practicing clinical psychologist, I find Congressman and psychologist Tim Murphy's actions deplorable, a disgrace to the profession, a violation of the ethical principles that guide psychologists in their duties, and an attempt to use his credentials as a psychologist to manipulate the public and Congress to believe obviously false statements. As a result of becoming increasingly concerned about Congressman Tim Murphy's false, public statements conflating mental illness with violence, I contacted the Pennsylvania Psychology Licensing Board and formally requested the implementation of a State ethics investigation of Representative Tim Murphy, Ph.D. I invite you to do the same by emailing the PA board at [email protected]
David Shern, from Johns Hopkins University, writes that the latest mental health “Murphy bill” in Congress is “an expansion of the approaches that got us into our current difficulties.” “Early intervention and prevention, assessable and patient-focused services with a rehabilitation orientation and increased funding for the community supports needed for successful recovery are the tickets to system improvement.”
On November 4, the Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee marked up an amended version of the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646), introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX). However, the bill still does not reflect the voices or meet the needs of millions of Americans with lived experience of mental health conditions because the E&C Health Subcommittee failed to incorporate our recommendations.
I felt a chill go through my body when I read that the FDA has agreed to review for possible approval in early 2016 a new form of the drug Abilify that contains a microchip sensor capable of sending a message that indicates the exact time a tablet dissolves in the stomach. The message is recorded by a skin patch - along with data such as the person’s body angle and activity patterns - and, according to a press release from Proteus Digital Health, the developer of the device, “this information is recorded and relayed to patients on a mobile phone or other Bluetooth-enabled device, and only with their consent, to their physician and/or their caregivers.”
I’ve come to realize that the very good intentions of Congressman Murphy to fix an obviously not-working mental health prevention, intervention, and treatment “system” has caused him to be swarmed by a flock of flatterers flogging fraudulent “facts.” Thus, at the behest of my colleague, I wrote a letter to Congressman Murphy, who is obviously a leader for issues of mental health. My letter was delivered to him personally, and I share much of it here. The more I thought about the pickle the Congressman is in—surrounded by people either flattering him or yelling at him—the more compassion I have for him as a human trying thread his way through the siren songs.
For those of us who have been labeled by medical model psychiatry, it is frightening to watch the wolf of social prejudice being cloaked in the guise of mental health reform. The reality for many of us is that our lives and well-being have been profoundly affected – not only by the bad science and good marketing of pharmaceutical companies - but also by a wholesale refusal to listen. The result is a mental health system that many of us do not trust to operate in good faith. The Murphy bills add fuel to this fire.
Dear Reader, I am reaching out to you in the hope that you will get this message in time to act! Even if you only have time to read the first two sentences of this blog, please click here for instructions on how you can win the hearts and minds of our federal legislators and help them understand why HR 2646 – proposed by Rep. Tim Murphy and called the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act – is a bad bill