Mental Health Legislation in the Senate: Hearings and Updates

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.

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.

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.

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:

@LamarAlexander (Chair)
@PattyMurray (Ranking Member)
@GOPHELP
@HELPCmteDems

Tweet your thoughts to the Judiciary Committee:

@ChuckGrassley (Chair)
@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!

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2 thoughts on “Mental Health Legislation in the Senate: Hearings and Updates

  1. It might be helpful to be aware of the fact that Sen. Grassely has been a long time watchdog of the FDA and Big Pharma. While this is the Judiciary Committee, I think he could be perduaded on our issues if people made informative and science-based arguments about the dangers and harm of psychiatric medications in relation to the injustice and harm within the m h system.

    He is also aware of and exposed the Big Pharma support of NAMI. While he is generally a GOP conservative I think he may see more than others how linking Big Pharma to psychiatry and to NAMI, which is supposedly our advocate, lays a very shaky foundation for truly helping people with emotional/cognitive difficulties. It should be made clear to him that they are serving interests other than ours and proposals in these laws will not help people who need services the most.

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  2. Anyhow psychiatry kills. This is its purpose. Psychiatrists make no mistakes and they don’t cause random, “unfavorable” effects. They know, how to destroy the humans nature. They transform a human to an alive nothing. And it quite satisfies them. They are the criminals. And we have to struggle with them as with the criminals. Don’t lie to yourselves, gentlemen. Support the petiton https://goo.gl/sMnJ6y This is necessary as air. It’s enough to open eyes to understand it.

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