Call to Action: HR 2646 Markup This Week

TIME SENSITIVE! Call or write before 5:00 pm on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.

The most current draft of the Murphy Bill, HB 2646, will be addressed by the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee next Wednesday, June 15, 2016.

If your House representative is on the E&C Committee CALL THEIR HOME OFFICE by the end of Tuesday, June 14. (Instructions on how to find your Rep and who to call are at the end of the announcement.)

WHETHER YOU HAVE A REP ON THE COMMITTEE OR NOT, please call the Washington offices of Chairman Fred Upton and Ranking Member Frank Pallone. Here is their contact information:

Fred Upton (R, MI), Chairman
TEL: 202-225-3761
http://upton.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm

Frank Pallone, Jr. (D, NJ), Ranking Member
TEL: 202-225-4671
https://palloneforms.house.gov/contact/email

LEAVE A MESSAGE stating you are strongly opposed to Murphy Bill HB 2646 and you want them to vote against it on June 15, 2016.

Below are the key points for opposing the bill. More details are at our website.

Press release from NCMHR on this proposed legislation.

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery is strongly opposed to HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, for the following reasons:

Continues to weaken the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration by creation of unnecessary oversight by an Assistant Secretary for Mental Health. SAMHSA has been indispensable in supporting the recovery of individuals with mental health conditions.

Would violate civil rights by authorizing new funding for assisted outpatient treatment, despite the lack of evidence that mandated outpatient treatment is effective.

Would expand Medicaid funding for institutions, rather than putting the money into evidence-based services in the community, as has been mandated by the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision.

OVERALL REACTION
The crisis in mental health care has been painted as a problem of “undeserved” rights. It is, in fact, a problem of grossly inadequate resources that are poorly allocated. Consumer-driven services in the community complement traditional mental health programs with highly effective outcomes that are significantly less expensive than other forms of community care. We recommend language and funding for peer support specialist grant programs and other consumer-driven supports.

More than 50 years after deinstitutionalization, mental health systems across the country are still unable to provide the appropriate care in the community that was promised long ago. Time and again, research has proven that the public perception of the relative “dangerousness” of people with mental health conditions is unfounded. Sensationalized, distorted media coverage and the sustained influence of some stakeholders have fueled arguments for forced treatment and an overly medicalized system of care. The march toward re-institutionalization and coercive care is abhorrent. Having a mental health condition does not constitute a life sentence to poverty, marginalization, aberrant behavior or an inability to become a fully functioning citizen who can contribute meaningfully to his/her community. We know that recovery is possible because we are the evidence.
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Who needs to be called? Members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee should be called by their constituents:
https://energycommerce.house.gov/about-ec/energy-commerce-committee-members

Not sure who your representative is? Go to this link and type in your zip code:
http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

An icon for your representative will appear, and you should be able to locate their contact information. If you prefer email, use the address provided on your representative’s page.

However, THE BEST IMPACT will come from calls to the home district offices. The staff at the home offices will communicate with the DC staff accordingly.

Don’t see your representative on the Energy and Commerce Committee? That’s okay, you can still help by calling the Washington, DC offices of the Chairman and Ranking Member and sharing your views:

Chairman Fred Upton (R, MI)
TEL: 202-225-3761
http://upton.house.gov/contact/zipauth.htm

Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D, NJ)
TEL: 202-225-4671
https://palloneforms.house.gov/contact/email

TIME SENSITIVE! Call or write before 5:00 pm on Tuesday, June 14, 2016.

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!