Tag Archives: Rep. Tim Murphy

Warning: A Psychiatric tsuNAMI is Upon U.S.

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By   Lauren Tenney, PhD, MPhil, MPA, Psychiatric Survivor

November 29

 

Well, our government is at it again.

It is not clear if this is the last stop, or where in the process we even are, but as best I can tell: happening any moment, Congressman Tim Murphy (R, Pennsylvania) will be making another speech at another hearing about the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) which is now part of a new bill, H.R. 34.

H.R. 2646 was the controversial legislative package that did everything from increasing and sanctioning state-sponsored forced and court-ordered psychiatry to the re-organization of SAMHSA. There was not a group that went unscathed: babies, pregnant and lactating women, children, teens, adults, and veterans. The mixing of drug experimentation, programming, payments, delivery, tracking systems, prison systems, psychiatric systems, medical systems, educational systems—everything accounted for in 996 pages.

This new bill, introduced on the day after Thanksgiving, November 25, 2016 is part of a pattern of the government trying to slip controversial psychiatric policy thru, when no one is thought to be watching. We recently saw this with the FDA’s shock treatment regulation for comment being released days before the new year and due the day after a celebrated holiday.

This bill, H.R. 34, the Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015 [21st Century Cures Act] is the subject of a hearing at the Capitol, in H-313, tonight on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 5:00 PM. Among the most problematic issues this bill presents are multiple provisions for forced psychiatry not limited to IOC/AOT, ACT Teams, and Prison Psychiatry.

H.R. 34 also includes: SAMHSA reorganization, condoning of HIPPAA violations, a study of peer support specialists for future controls of the field, multiple attacks on young people and veterans, and a host of other potential human rights violations. Psychiatry is a fraud and this bill perpetuates it.

Tell your legislators to VOTE NO on H.R. 34!

Demand that your legislators stop sneaking controversial, damaging bills into other bills at the last minute. What is being called a “simple parliamentary procedure” seems rather shady to me. The legislature has not been able to pass some version of Murphy’s bill for years, and now they are going to try to sneak it in merged withthe 21st Century Cures Act under the title Education, Research and Tsunami Warning Act of 2015. These actions further problematize our legislative processes.

It is urgent that people realize that no child will grow up without psychiatric evaluation. All people will become, in a generation or two, acclimated to being psychiatrized; psychiatry and its arms of drugs and institutions will become even more standard in our society.

At the very moment that people are becoming more vocal about the need for equality, eliminating racism and racist practices and systems, calling out sexism, homophobia, transphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of structural oppression, and addressing the outright fraud and other structural problems of psychiatry and its subdivisions, the government will solidify psychiatric practice in our society. This includes a great expansion of psychiatric reach into the prison industry and court systems.

Do not be fooled, this is a one way path that will allow the new administration the type of reach they want to keep us contained as they break down the existing structure, creating greater disparities, and further subjecting us, as a people who are already often oppressed, into further social control and subjugation to psychiatry.

Follow up with your legislators, and all legislators you can. Inform them about the dangers of psychiatry. Inform them about the dangers of this bill. Tell them that a bill that has been combined with multiple other bills totaling 996 pages (and involving who knows how many billions of dollars in taxpayer resources)—a bill that was introduced 3 business days prior to its hearing and 4 days prior to its assumed vote, under the name of a bill that has already passed, but has been deleted and replaced by this mess that has not been able to pass on its own for years—is not acceptable.

I am sure analyses of what the bill entails need to be made and many are working on making them. For now, take action. Call your elected officials today, tonight, tomorrow, and continue to do so to make your voice heard. The pro-psychiatry, pro-forced psychiatric treatment advocates are launching campaigns against us. We need to speak out, once again, for ourselves. No one else will. Make your calls now.

Find your Representatives in Congress

Find your Senators

H.R. 34 Bill Text

H.R. 34 Hearing Information

Those who want to take a closer look at this bill, please read on:

Even a cursory glance at the Table of Contents and the twenty-five titles it encompasses makes one have to take a deep breath to get the scope of how this bill can fundamentally transform our society—and not for the better. Division A – 21st Century Cures starts off with Title I, NIH Innovation Projects and State Responses to Opioid Abuse, Title II includes Innovation Projects and includes privacy protections for human research subjects, a section called “High Risk, High Reward Research” is included here, as is the development of a “Taskforce specific to pregnant and lactating women”. These need to be read carefully. Title III is Development and includes provisions such as patient-focused drug development, advancing new drug therapies, and a host of other sections designed for research on physical health.

Title V addresses Savings and this looks at issues of Medicare and Medicaid, and affects the Affordable Care Act.

Section VI looks at Leadership and Accountability and this is where the re-organization of SAMHSA is laid out and the provisions for the establishment of the “Interdepartmental Serious Mental Illness Coordinating Committee” can be found.
Tell your legislators to VOTE NO on H.R. 34, Tsunami Warning, Education, and Research Act of 2015.

Title VII is designed for “Ensuring mental and substance use disorders prevention, treatment, and recovery programs keep pace with science and technology” and has both regional and national goals.

Title VIII is for “Supporting state prevention activities and responses to mental health and substance use disorder needs” that work on block grants.

Title IX is for “Promoting access to mental health and substance use disorder care” and these include grants for “treatment and recovery for homeless individuals”; “jail diversion programs”; “promoting integration of primary and behavioral health care”; “National Suicide Prevention Line” and other types of programs that track and turn in people to the system, acting as a pipeline to psychiatry. Section 9014 is Assisted outpatient treatment” and section 9015 is the Assertive Community Treatment grant program. It is important for people to specifically speak out against Sections 9014 and 9015, as inherently problematic for protecting human rights.

Subtitle B of Title IX is focused on “Strengthening the Health Care Workforce” and this includes education and training programs. Subtitle C targets college campuses.

Title X is for “Strengthening mental and substance use disorder care for children and adolescents” and increases pediatric access, programming, treatment, and interventions for young people, “screening and treatment for maternal depression” and Section 10006 is particularly worrisome, “Infant and early childhood mental health promotion, intervention, and treatment”.

Title XI is the loss of privacy rights under HIPAA, (you may recall issues around Matsui’s billi that was basically incorporated into the structure).

Title XII further strengthens “Mental Health Parity” which works on the premise that psychiatry is as legitimate a science as physical health medicine, and perpetuates the fraud of the pharmaceutical and psychiatric industries, ensuring also that training, education, information and awareness of eating disorders are covered under these processes.

Title XIII is for “Mental Health and Safe Communities” Subtitle A includes the expansion and over reach of Law Enforcement and Psychiatry working hand in hand through Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (torture) “Assisted Outpatient Commitment” (as a second section in this same bill, here Section 14002. Title XIII also includes “Federal drug and mental health courts”; “mental health in the judicial system”; “Forensic Assertive Community Treatment Initiatives”; “mental health training for Federal uniformed services”; “school mental health intervention teams”; “Active-shooter training for law enforcement”; “Improving Department of Justice data collection on mental illness involved in crime”; and “Reports on the number of mentally ill offenders in prison”, further attempting to discriminate against people with psychiatric histories. In this section, the limited patients’ rights for the Department of Veterans Affairs are noted, and this of course is and continues to be a concern, as example, we know veterans and their fetuses are being subjected to shock treatment ii.

Subtitle B focuses on “Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health” in prisons and jails, local and federal law enforcement training, and GAO reporting and needs to be looked at very carefully in the future.

Title XV addresses Medicare Part A and reimbursements. Title XVI, Medicare Part B and treatment/payments/ and Continuing Access to Hospitals Act of 2016; all of which need thorough review.

Title TVII includes other Medicare provisions and XVIII still other provisions around employer health reimbursement.

Division D is “Child and Family Services and Support” and includes Title XIX, “Investing in Prevention and Family Services”, restructuring prevention services, programs, and payments as they relate to foster care, and perhaps one of the few sensible things, Section 19032, “Development of a statewide plan to prevent child abuse and neglect fatalities”.

Title XXI looks also and securing support for foster families and children and Title XXII addresses “reauthorizing adoption and legal guardianship incentive programs”.
Title XXIII is for “Technical Corrections” for data and programming and “Technical corrections to State requirement to address the developmental needs of young children”.

Title XXIV is for “Ensuring states reinvest savings resulting from increase in adoption assistance” and like “Title XXV, Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results” and the extension of the TANF program and other types of social supports, this needs to be read and understood.

 

Lauren Tenney, PhD, MPhil, MPA, Psychiatric Survivor

http://www.LaurenTenney.us

Lauren Tenney, PhD, is a psychiatric survivor and activist first involuntarily committed at age 15. Her work aims to expose the institutional corruption which is a source of profit for organized psychiatry, and to abolish state sponsored human rights violations, such as murder, torture and slavery. http://www.laurentenney.us

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Mental Health Bill Caters to Big Pharma and Would Expand Coercive Treatments

Friday, 06 November 2015 00:00 By Oryx Cohen, Truthout | Op-Ed

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), right, and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a news conference about the Affordable Care Act at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, Oct. 23, 2013.(Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pennsylvania), right, and former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) during a news conference about the Affordable Care Act at the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington, October 23, 2013. (Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

On its surface, the mental health reform bill introduced by Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania looks promising. Murphy is the only licensed psychologist in Congress, everybody agrees that our mental health system is not working, and we would all like to help families in crisis.

On closer inspection, however, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR 2646) – commonly known as the “Murphy Bill” – appears to cater more closely to the desires of pharmaceutical companies than to the actual needs of people in psychological distress, perhaps because of Murphy’s connections to key lobbyists.

Murphy’s financial supporters include the American Psychiatric Association, psychiatric hospitals and the National Rifle Association, and his campaign contributors include no less than nine pharmaceutical companies and a law firm that represents Big Pharma.

The bill was marked up Wednesday in the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee and passed by that subcommittee, despite strong objections from almost all the Democrats on the full committee. The next step is for the full Energy and Commerce Committee to vote on moving the bill forward, followed by the House vote. A timetable has not yet been set. Although the bill is gaining momentum, there is substantial opposition, so passage is still uncertain.

If the Murphy Bill is passed, psychiatric hospitals and pharmaceutical companies will reap huge financial benefits as a result of increased hospitalization and forced treatment. One way the bill will do this is by creating a financial incentive for states that implement “assisted outpatient treatment”: court-ordered treatment (including medication) for people whom a judge deems as living with “severe mental illness” and unlikely to willingly take prescribed psychiatric medications.

Psychiatric hospitals would also benefit from the bill’s proposed elimination of the “Institutions for Mental Diseases exclusion,” which currently makes mental health institutions ineligible for funding through Medicaid. By enabling psychiatric hospitals to access this funding, the Murphy Bill could usher in an unprecedented era of re-institutionalization, going against the recommendations of the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision, which asserted in 1999 that people with mental health issues have the right to be in the least restrictive setting possible. If passed, the Murphy Bill will lead to large-scale re-institutionalization in hospitals for longer periods of time for people who now generally have the right to live in supportive communities of their choosing.

The Murphy Bill threatens the recovery and community integration practices that current consumers of mental health services and survivors of coercive psychiatric interventions have worked so hard for over the last 40-plus years to create for those most in need. In particular, the bill would dismantle the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), which actively funds and supports important efforts to rebuild the community and family life of people dealing with mental health issues through non-medicalized institutions such as peer-run respites (short-term crisis centers managed by people living with mental health concerns and available to “self-referred” individuals seeking to avoid hospitalization through support from peers). SAMHSA also supports suicide prevention initiatives, trauma-informed practices, Emotional CPR (an educational program aimed at teaching people how to assist others through an emotional crisis), Wellness Recovery Action Planning and much more, all of which would suffer if SAMHSA were dismantled. The bill would also threaten people’s rights by weakening state “Protection and Advocacy for People with Mental Illness” organizations, which offer rights protections, and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, making it easier to force people into treatment.

Murphy and his supporters criticize opponents of the bill for being “against families.” They fail to acknowledge that families are not united in support of this bill. While the national headquarters of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has come out in support of the bill, many local NAMI affiliates are against it. Activists who identify as current consumers of mental health services or survivors of psychiatric interventions are frequently approached by desperate family members who are looking for alternatives to coercive and institutional responses to mental health crises. We are finding ways to include families because rebuilding strong family connections can be essential to recovery.

Community-Based Solutions to Mental Health Crises

Rosey Padgett in Prescott, Arizona, recently contacted the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery because her son Nick was trapped in the mental health system. Currently, he is in the Arizona State Hospital.

“Nick has been placed in mental hospitals approximately 30 different times over the past seven years,” Padgett says. “He has been court ordered and placed in many different group homes. All of the group homes have made his behavior worse due to being forced into these situations when these homes are not an environment for healing. No wonder so many people with emotional and mental distress commit suicide: They feel dead inside and hopeless from being forced to take medications that make them feel horrible.”

What has worked for Nick is connecting with other peers and having tremendous family support. A woman from the local Hearing Voices Network has begun visiting with him and providing peer support, as they are both voice hearers. He is doing so much better that the doctors at Arizona State Hospital are talking about releasing him in a few months.

Nick’s story is similar to the stories of others around the country who are languishing in and out of hospitals. Often it is not what is happening in those hospitals that helps people reestablish a life; it is the family and community support they have once they leave the hospital.

Murphy Bill proponents point to a lack of institutionally or medically directed mental health treatment as being a primary cause of the alarming rise of violent acts such as school shootings and suicide. However, when we look at this argument closely, it falls apart.

This argument overlooks the fact that the link between mental health conditions and violence is minuscule, as many studies have shown. Mentalhealth.gov, a website run by the federal government, says:

The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3 to 5 percent of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population…. When economist Richard Florida took a look at gun deaths and other social indicators, he found that higher populations, more stress, more immigrants and more mental illness didn’t correlate with more gun deaths. But he did find one telling correlation: States with tighter gun control laws have fewer gun-related deaths.

We should probably be doing more questioning of the treatments themselves. For example, many antidepressant medications, such as Paxil, that are commonly prescribed to young people, have a black box warning that they can increase suicidality among teenagers.

We all want to see violence and suicide go away, but passing legislation that imposes increased mental health screenings and forced treatments (including psychiatric medication) on unwilling individuals is neither an ethical nor an effective way to accomplish this, especially given the risk of medications backfiring.

Standing Up for Peer-Run Recovery

Perhaps Murphy and supporters of his bill should ask those of us who have lived through extreme emotional distress for ideas and possible solutions. Thus far, the many activists who share the concerns I have outlined here have been denied a seat at the table in congressional discussions of the Murphy bill, despite the recommendation made in 2003 by the President’s New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which said that transformations of the mental health system should be led and informed by consumers of mental health services.

What would survivors of extreme emotional distress say if we were at the table with Congressman Murphy?

Many of us would say that our mental health crises occur when we feel alone, abused and generally isolated from the rest of the world. We would thus raise our concern that, rather than reestablishing social connections, the current mental health system often disconnects us even more and leads us to a lifelong dependence on the system itself.

Let’s take Dan, who as an adolescent contemplated shooting up his middle school. It wasn’t medication or therapy that prevented this terrible potential tragedy; Dan says it was talking to his friends at school and playing Dungeons and Dragons that grounded him and gave him hope. In other words, peer support.

What would have happened if Dan had been flagged as a result of a mental health screening? He likely would have been removed from his social circles and placed in an institution, perhaps becoming permanently dependent on the system.

Dan is now a part of a peer-run recovery community called the Western Massachusetts Recovery Learning Community. He has his own place to live, a job, friends and a life, and is starring in the documentary HEALING VOICES. The Recovery Learning Community helps people to establish much-needed social connections and gain a sense of belonging. This community is there when Dan needs it, and he doesn’t need a diagnosis or a referral to attend the many support groups and wellness activities: the strength of places like the Recovery Learning Community is that they an integrated and open part of the broader community and not separate from it.

But if the Murphy Bill passes, places like this might cease to exist. By requiring expensive clinical oversight and unprecedented congressional control over federal grants, the Murphy Bill targets consumer-run organizations and peer specialists, making it likely that national consumer-run organizations will be shut down, severely restricting what peer specialists can do and posing a threat to local peer-run organizations such as the Recovery Learning Community.

Critics dismiss many opponents of the Murphy bill as being “anti-medication,” but in fact many of us take medications and have found them useful. Our philosophy is that people should have accurate information to make informed choices, including the choice to use alternatives to medications. With the increase in violence and suicide and the alarming fact that people in the public mental health system die an average of 25 years younger than the rest of the population, shouldn’t researching and supporting alternatives be a priority?

Current consumers of mental health services and survivors of psychiatric interventions are willing to share our knowledge and expertise.

Is anyone willing to listen?

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