Originally appeared at TraumaInformed.Org

The Trauma Informed movement periodically has online and community events to raise awareness, facilitate change, and speak out on policy decisions. Please consider participating in upcoming events!

What’s New?

Join us for a Twitter Chat regarding Hillary Clinton’s Comprehensive Agenda on Mental Health! If you haven’t seen it yet – please take a look. Despite Congress declaring psychological trauma as a public health crisis and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration having one of its six strategic initiatives focusing on trauma because of the prevalence and impact on survivors, the proposed “comprehensive” agenda is absent any focus on trauma.

Here are the details about the chat:

Chat Cloud Image

Date: Monday, September 5, 2016

Time: 5 pm to 8 pm, EST


Hashtags: #TraumaMHPriority and #TraumaInformed

We invite all to comment on three questions. Our collective voices can make a difference! Please participate:

  1. How important is it for Hillary Clinton to address psychological trauma in her comprehensive national policy on mental health?
  2. Why do you think trauma should be included in our national policy agenda?
  3. Should prevention be a major focus in the national policy on mental health?

When responding, please include the hashtags so we can follow your input on this important national issue.

Some additional information that might be of interest – Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Presidential Candidate Questionnaire that includes her priority focus for law enforcement and criminal justice!

Follow us on Twitter ( and ) and in the Trauma Informed groups on  and .

Rewire Article: Advocates Say Bill to Address Gaps in Mental Health Care Would Do More Harm Than Good

Article over at Rewire about H.R. 2646 (“Murphy Bill”):

Advocates say that U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy’s “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” purported to help address gaps in care, is regressive and strips rights away from those diagnosed with mental illness. This leaves those in the LGBTQ community—who already often have an adversarial relationship with the mental health sector—at particular risk.

Topics include privacy concerns, the difficulties patients face when trying to have their concerns taken seriously, the need for trauma-informed care, and the implications for the LGBTQ community.

Great quotations from Victoria M. Rodríguez-Roldán, JD, director of the Trans/GNC Justice Project at the National LGBTQ Task Force and #RealMHChange’s own Leah Harris.

The article is worth reading in full.

Action Alert from NCIL: Call Your Representative to Tell Them to Oppose H.R. 2646

Action alert from the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) re: H.R. 2646 (“Murphy Bill”):

The bill is still bad for people with disabilities.

Representative Murphy, the bill’s author, called H.R. 2646 the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015.” Others know it as the “Murphy bill.” Last week the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee amended it and voted it out of committee unanimously. View the markup and the vote.

As we’ve discussed in previous alerts, the passage of this bill would have dire consequences for people with psychiatric disabilities. Misled by dangerous assumptions and false media portrayals of those with psychiatric disabilities, supporters of this bill believe they are advocating for improved access to services and protection from violence.

In reality, this bill would take away basic civil and human rights of people with disabilities. People with psychiatric diagnoses are much more likely to be victims than perpetrators of violence. They are no more likely to be dangerous than their peers without psychiatric diagnoses. Regardless of these facts, proponents of this bill seem to believe that those with psychiatric diagnosis truly are different and less capable than their peers and should be treated as such.

Perhaps most importantly, this bill limits health privacy under the HIPAA rules. Section 401 of the Manager’s Amendment would establish a “Sense of Congress.” This section would write a controversial definition into law. There is substantial research showing that people diagnosed with mental illness are able to make reasonable decisions about their care as do people with other chronic health conditions. The bill ignores this evidence, limiting the rights of people with psychiatric disabilities to privacy and to control their own care.

Section 404 requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to promulgate new HIPAA privacy regulations. This creates the risk that more discrimination will be written into law consistently with the “Sense of Congress.” 

Together, these provisions justify discrimination and ignore one of the ugly truths of mental health treatment. Namely, most people with psychiatric disability have experienced trauma, often childhood trauma and often at the hands of family members. Granting family members rights to information about health care will cause harm to many people with psychiatric disabilities. We must oppose this.

In addition to the HIPPA privacy provisions, this bill contains other dangerous provisions. It would:

  • Promote greater reliance on hospitals and other institutions over community supports and
  • Bribe states to take away the right to decide their own health care for people with psychiatric disability through an “assisted outpatient treatment” grant program.

The term “assisted outpatient treatment” (AOT) is like calling robbery “assisted wealth redistribution” and is more appropriately called involuntary outpatient treatment (“IOT”). IOT has been studied extensively. It has not been shown to be effective without increased access to services.

H.R. 2646 also creates new bureaucracy within the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). A new Assistant Secretary must be a doctor. Other changes threaten effective programs such as peer support and limit the role for consumers in mental health and substance use policy and programs.

Instead of encouraging mental health treatment, the discrimination this bill requires would encourage people to avoid treatment. The only sure way to avoid losing rights is to stay out of the system.

Though some of the most harmful provisions in previous versions of this bill have been softened, it is still dangerous and discriminatory. This much we know is true: Passing this bill would undo many years of disability advocacy successes that we as a community have fought so hard to achieve by dehumanizing people with psychiatric diagnoses. Please call your Representative! Ask them to oppose H.R. 2646; it is still bad for people with disabilities.

Please complete and share.

H.R. 2646 Passes out of Committee

On June 15th, H.R. 2646 (“Murphy Bill”) passed out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

As the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) points out, this is cause for concern:

Despite recent revisions, H.R. 2646 continues to focus on interventions that isolate and stigmatize people with mental health disabilities. It was not only written without significant participation by people with mental health disabilities but also would exclude people with mental health disabilities from positions of leadership in mental health programs.

  • H.R. 2646 would create new administrative burdens for home health care and personal attendant services for people with disabilities.
  • H.R. 2646 would subsidize long-term institutionalization of children and young adults.
  • H.R. 2646 would not ensure that people with psychiatric disabilities are represented in the programs that it would authorize.
  • H.R. 2646 promotes outdated ideas about the capacity of individuals with mental health disabilitiesincluding its apparent promotion of plenary guardianship for individuals with mental health disabilitiesand makes no mention of available alternatives to guardianship, such as supported decision-making.
  • The draft bill would urge the Department of Health and Human Services to revisit (or “clarify”) its existing HIPAA regulations in a way that could potentially expand access to protected health information without the consent of a person with a mental health disability.

Read the full press release here.

The Atlantic: “Untangling Gun Violence from Mental Illness”

Article: Untangling Gun Violence from Mental Illness

“We have a strong responsibility as researchers who study mental illness to try to debunk that myth. I say as loudly and as strongly and as frequently as I can, that mental illness is not a very big part of the problem of gun violence in the United States.”

– Dr. Jeffrey Swanson, Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Duke University School of Medicine

Murphy Bill Updates: Markup Today at 10am (webcast) and Amendment

TODAY: The US House Committee on Energy and Commerce will be reviewing new amendments to Congressman Tim Murphy’s ‘Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Bill’ this morning at 10:00 am.

AMENDMENT: Committee Chairman Upton and Ranking Member Pallone are offering a managers amendment. The amendment is essentially a new version of the bill, entirely replacing the old one. You can read it here.

WATCH: There will be a live webcast of the markup, starting approximately 10 minutes before 10am. You can watch it here.