Call to Action - Immediate -
August 31, 2016
An Urgent Push for Justice
Please call or write your representatives in the United States Senate by this Friday to share the following message:
“Please support Senate Bill 2680 WITHOUT amendments or changes”
Members of Congress will be returning to their DC offices next week. Hundreds of advocates from many different organizations are already contacting their representatives telling them to support mental health legislation. The Senate is receiving substantial pressure to vote on S. 2680. We must act. We must make our own voices heard. Below are links to previous Calls to Action to remind you of the details.
Here is a general overview:
HR 2646, the original Murphy Bill, passed the House last month with nearly unanimous support. But it has language in it that is still dangerous for people with lived experience, especially those who need services and supports. S. 2680, the Senate version of mental health reform, does not have the toxic language in it that is in the House bill. We must urge our senators to support S. 2680 without amendments or changes, as there will likely be attempts to insert some of the House bill’s language. Specifically:
Side by side comparison of HR 2646 and S 2680
*Disempowers the one federal agency that advances recovery with new leadership in the form of an Assistant Secretary of MH & SA - requiring an MD or PhD in Psychology
Maintains the current organaizational structure - no new organizational leadership
*Expands funding for Assisted Outpatient Treatment, aka, Outpatient Commitment
Does not expand forced treatment
Disregard/disrespect for consumers / people with lived experience
*No representation of advisory or decision-making bodies
Includes representation of people with lived experience
*Uses “anosognosia” as a rationale to promote forced treatment. This is junk science. Alleging that some people are “too sick to know they are sick”
No mention of anosognosia
*Does not support recovery for MH yet supports recovery for the substance abuse community
Has recovery language throughout the bill for MH
HIPAA - confidentiality
*Provides a path to relaxing the HIPAA Law related to confidentiality via a study
Calls for better education about the existing law
Inpatient vs.correctional system false dichotomy
*Provides a false choice of increasing hospital beds OR continuing jails / homelessness - does not address the real need for communigty programs that prevent hospitalization with voluntary, consumer/peer driven services
Does not address the issue
Overall, both bills for mental health reform were a direct result of the Sandy Hook shootings. People with mental health conditions have been unfairly scapegoated, given that we comprise a mere 4% of all violence in the country.
The need for mental health reform is quite real and pressing, but it is not due to “undeserved rights.” Since 1963, deinstitutionalization into the community has been a massive fiscal failure at both state and federal levels. Rather than blaming the victims of poor public policy with more of the same, it is time for government to value our health care needs and our understanding of what makes actual recovery possible. Additional funding for inpatient care supports a system of care that is too late, too expensive and too coercive. A better use of public dollars would be to support actual care in the community.
The following is a link to contact information for the U.S. Senate: www.senate.gov/senators/contact
Petitioning The Boston Globe Spotlight Team Editor Scott Allen and 7 others
Boston Globe - Apologize for fear mongering in "The Desperate and the Dead"
The Boston Globe recently ran a "Spotlight" series to draw attention to the fact that mental health treatment is underfunded in the state of Massachusetts.
Rather than place those responsible for this under-funding in the "Spotlight" however, the Globe has chosen to single out the individuals who are just as much victims of the system as their families. This is fear mongering propaganda and it does not serve anyone besides the Globe, who are likely receiving many more clicks than they would normally. Click to read, and to sign the petition.
NCMHR is a member of the National Disability Leadership Alliance, which consists of
15 national disability groups, is opposed to the Murphy bill HR 2646
Dear Reps. Upton, Whitfield, Pallone, Burgess, Barton and Shimkus: Our alliance of 15 national disability organizations, all run by persons with disabilities remain opposed to Rep. Murphy' s Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis proposed bill, HR 2646, while we support HR 4435, Comprehensive Behavioral Health Reform and Recovery Act, sponsored by Reps. Green, DeGette, Matsui, Tonko, Loebsack , and Kennedy.
NDLA is a coalition of 15 national grassroots organizations run by persons with disabilities. We value the opportunity to make meaningful choices about our lives, to live and work in the communities of our choice, to have a full voice in all of the policies that affect our lives, and to be treated with dignity and respect for our civil and human rights. Click to read the letter (PDF, 558KB, 3 pages)
National Disability Leadership Alliance as well as the following of its individual members:
Autistic Self-Advocates Network
APRIL (Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living)
Little People of America
National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
National Council of Independent Living
National Organization of Nurses with Disabilities
Not Dead Yet
United Spinal Association
New study by HHS shows benefits of peer delivered services
Peers in a variety of settings are shown to inspire hope, facilitate empowerment and reduce frequency of hospitalization.
Click to view study by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation [ASPE] (PDF, 1.24MB, 90 pages)
Lessons Learned by Statewide Consumer-Run Organizations
Webinar Archive Now Available!
Please visit www.nasmhpd.adobeconnect.com/p4ugoxgw26d to view.
Click to view PowerPoint slides (as PDF, 1.03MB, 29 pages)
Sponsored by SAMHSA and presented by the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
Participants will learn about:
- Establishing a strong mission statement with goals and objectives
- Building a strong board
- How to establish strong, inclusive leadership
- Building a strong membership, with ongoing feedback to/from the board
- Training the grassroots to advocate passionately and how to be aware of critical issues
- Fund raising strategies
Moderator: Dr. Daniel Fisher, the executive director of the National Empowerment Center and the chairman of the board of directors for the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery.
Panelists: William Parke-Sutherland, Executive Director of Grassroots Empowerment Project (GEP), Anthony Fox, Chief Executive Officer of Tennessee Mental Health Consumers' Association and Sally Zinman, Executive Director of the California Association of Mental Health Peer Run Organizations (CAMHPRO).
The Coalition Welcomes Dr. Anita Everett as Chief Medical Officer of SAMHSA
The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) is pleased to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Anita Everett, who has been appointed Chief Medical Officer of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Agency (SAMHSA). Dr. Everett will head a five-person staff for the newly created Office of Chief Medical Officer.
During the course of her psychiatric career, Dr. Everett has gained extensive experience in numerous arenas in the mental health field. She is a compassionate physician, a keen policy advocate, and an inspiring leader for recovery-based transformation of public mental health care.
Dr. Everett has shown a great respect for the perspective of people with lived experience. In the 1990’s, at the height of controversies related to patients dying and suffering in Virginia’s public psychiatric hospitals, Dr. Everett served as the first Inspector General for the state's public mental health system. In that capacity, she created teams of mental health consumers who inspected state hospitals and made recommendations for the improvement of care and protection of civil and human rights.
More recently, Dr. Everett has served as division director of Johns Hopkins Community and General Psychiatry, Bayview Campus, and associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore. Dr. Everett has also served as president of the American Association of Community Psychiatrists and is currently the president-elect of the American Psychiatric Association.
Dr. Everett has the skills, dedication, and depth of knowledge needed to build bridges and consensus among stakeholders in the mental health community and among policy decision makers.
NCMHR looks forward to working with Dr. Everett and SAMHSA in promoting voluntary, community-based, peer-driven services and supports across the country.
Article by Val Marsh selected as the "feature blog" at the
Mad In America Blog
The article, titled "The Murphy Bill, HR 2646 — a Heinous Piece of Legislation — is Coming to a Vote. Act Now" was published July 5, 2016
This coming Wednesday, two days after the 4th of July celebration of our country’s declaration of freedom from oppression, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote on HR 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016, or HR 2646. It is also known as The Murphy Bill. The ORIGINAL Murphy Bill. In truth, it has nothing to do with freedom, and everything to do with oppression. Read more...
NCMHR Appoints Valerie L. Marsh, MSW as Executive Director
WASHINGTON, April 25, 2016 —The Board of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) announced the appointment of Valerie L. Marsh, MSW as Executive Director.
“I look forward to joining other mental health consumers and survivors dedicated to empowerment, self-determination and access to effective, humane, voluntary services that are peer-run,” said Marsh. View Full Press Release
Stop FDA from Down-Classifying the Shock Device to a Class II Device Stop shock treatment
Please sign this petition to the FDA requesting that ECT machines not be downgraded to Category II and also directly contact the FDA to give testimony that there should be no down grading of the ECT machines
Visit www.change.org/p/fda-stop-fda-from-down-classifying-the-shock-device-to-a-class-ii-device-stop-shock-treatment to sign the petition, and to find instructions on how to submit comments.
The Recovery Now! Campaign advances innovative strategies to improve the quality of mental health care, promoting recovery for all Americans affected by mental health conditions. Learn more and join the campaign today!
Advocates Launch Campaign to Advance Recovery-Focused Mental Health Care
As House and Senate Democrats and Republicans focus on comprehensive mental health reform, and a recent poll by the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research indicated that 71% of Americans are calling for “significant “ or “radical” changes in the way that mental illnesses and addiction are treated, leading mental health experts and advocacy groups have announced the formation of the Recovery Now! Campaign. The campaign has been created to address the crisis in our mental health service system and the personal crises faced daily by individuals and families in great distress. Click here to read the campaign launch announcement.
2015 Public Policy Priorities
Our 2015 public policy priorities focus on advocating for a recovery-focused mental health system that prevents crisis, protects rights, and promotes wellness, economic empowerment, and social inclusion. Click here to view our public policy priorities.
GAO Report on Health and Human Services Leadership Misleading, Incomplete
In 2014, Representative Tim Murphy (PA-18) engaged the GAO to enumerate the programs the Administration funds to assist persons with severe mental illness, to determine the degree to which these programs are coordinated, and to assess the evaluations done on the programs. The GAO identified over a hundred federal programs, but comes to misleading conclusions in its report. Read the GAO report and our position statement (PDF, 120KB, 1 page).
Editorial: Does the scientific evidence support the recovery model?
One of the most robust findings in schizophrenia research is that a substantial proportion of those with the illness will recover completely and many more will regain good social functioning. Click here to read the entire editorial. (PDF, 74KB, 6 pages)
For docs, more biology info means less empathy for mental health patients
New Yale study challenges the notion that biological explanations for mental illness boost compassion for the tens of millions of Americans who suffer from mental-health problems. Click here to read the findings | Effects of biological explanations for mental disorders on clinicians’ empathy by
Matthew S. Lebowitz1 and Woo-kyoung Ahn (PDF, 637KB, 5 pages)
New Research Briefs
NCMHR has compiled lists of references and citations to support legislative advocacy and public education efforts.
To access research and citations on Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), also known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT), click here (PDF, 157KB, 5 pages).
To access research and citations documenting the weak link between mental health diagnoses and violence, click here (PDF, 156KB, 5 pages).
To access research on the evidence base for peer support and recovery-oriented approaches to distress and crisis, click here (PDF, 208KB, 13 pages).
Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: What the Evidence Really Says
Under Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC), a person with a serious mental health condition is mandated by a court to follow a specific treatment plan, usually requiring the person to take medication and sometimes directing where the person can live and what his or her daily activities must include. Proponents of IOC claim that it is effective in reducing violent behavior, incarcerations, and hospitalizations among individuals with serious mental health conditions. However, repeated studies have shown no evidence that mandating outpatient treatment through a court order is effective; to the limited extent that court-ordered outpatient treatment has shown improved outcomes, these outcomes appear to result from the intensive services that have been made available to participants in those clinical trials rather than from the existence of a court order mandating treatment.
Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: What the Evidence Really Says (PDF, 152KB, 4 pages)
NCMHR Visionary C/S/X Leadership Conference - Audio Recording Now Available!
Another lively and inspiring discussion took place this year, featuring Daniel Fisher, Susan Rogers and Wilma Townsend, and moderated by Keris Myrick. If you missed this annual NCMHR event, please click here to access the audio of the presentations.