UPDATE: February 11, 2016 – The following article from Morning Consult illustrates the complicated interplay between mental health reform and gun control efforts in Congress. As always, the critical message to our legislators and to the Administration is that mental health reform and gun violence should be addressed as separate issues. To conflate them into one policy issue amounts to scapegoating of people with mental health conditions and reinforces the faulty link between mental health and gun violence.
- Senate Committee, White House Negotiating Mental Health Package: Morning Consult, February 10, 2016.
January 19, 2016 – Please be aware of two upcoming mental health-related hearings in the Senate. As you will see in the articles linked below, the process is likely to be fairly complicated, and we will do our best to provide updates on any significant developments and additional hearings.
- Cornyn: GOP Can Work With Obama on Mental Health, Criminal Justice: Morning Consult, January 14, 2016.
- Judiciary panel to consider mental health bill – The Hill, January 14, 2016.
- Senate Could Wind Up Clashing on Mental Health: Morning Consult, January 11, 2016.
Wednesday, January 20, 10:00 am
The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee will hold a hearing entitled “Improving the Federal Response to Challenges in Mental Health Care in America.” This hearing is not considering one specific piece legislation, but there will likely be discussion of both S.1945, the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015, introduced by Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) and S.2002, the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX).
Information and live stream can be accessed here. This post will be updated with the archived link to the hearing for those who cannot watch it live.
- HELP Committee member list
- Here is a summary of both bills referenced above, prepared by NAMI. This is not an endorsement of NAMI’s positions, but is provided for background and informational purposes only.
Tuesday, January 26, 10:00 am
The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on S. 2002, the Mental Health and Safe Communities Act, introduced by Senator John Cornyn (R-TX). Please check back at this post for updates, including the live-streaming link when it is made available.
- The preliminary announcement for this hearing can be found here.
- The text of this bill can be found here.
- Judiciary Committee member list
What you can do:
We invite you to engage on social media during the hearings, if you cannot be there in person. Let these committees know what you think of the conversation and what should and should not be a part of mental health legislation. Please use the hashtag #realmhchange. We will be Tweeting from @realmhchange.
Tweet your thoughts to the HELP Committee:
@PattyMurray (Ranking Member)
Tweet your thoughts to the Judiciary Committee:
@SenatorLeahy (Ranking Member)
We will update this post if there is any additional information on these hearings, or if there are opportunities for further action. Thank you for making your voice heard!