Murphy’s Mental Health Bill

It is no secret that pharma-psychiatry has come under considerable criticism in recent years.  In general, they do not respond to these criticisms, but instead they continue to beat the same old drum:  mental illness is becoming increasingly prevalent; we need more mental health screenings; we need more funding for “treatment”; and we need wider coercive powers to ensure that these sick people take their drugs.  They are also using the school shootings to generate alarm about “untreated” mental illness, and are calling in support from various quarters, including politicians.

On December 12, U.S. Representative Tim Murphy presented a bill in the House that will, if passed, promote more coercive tactics in the mental health field.  It would also weaken clients’ rights, including their rights to privacy and confidentiality.

The National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR) is a psychiatric survivors’ advocacy organization.  They have today issued an action alert asking those of us on this side of the debate to oppose the bill, and to spread the word.  In particular, they ask that we phone our political representatives either today (Monday) or tomorrow (Tuesday) and encourage them not to co-sponsor or support the bill.

If you live in the US, please help block this regressive measure.  Please take a look at NCMHR’s notice, and phone your representative.  It’s important that we take this step quickly to prevent the bill garnering additional co-sponsors.  We can write detailed letters later.  The NCMHR’s notice provides information on how to contact your representative, etc…

Please help spread the word.  In politics, numbers count!

 

  • cannotsay

    Thanks Phil! I have already talked to my representative’s office. For confidentiality reasons, I prefer not to say who the representative is, but their office was clueless about the issue. They asked me for the number of the bill.

    There are many things to dislike about the bill but I think we can gain a lot of track if we put emphasis on the weakening of the privacy protections FOR LIFE that could affect to anybody who receives a DSM label, which could be upwards of 50% of the people with DSM-5.

    We are also “lucky”, in a sense, that this thing is coincident with the NSA story.

    In any case, I was never that naive as to believe that the psycho-pharmacological complex was going to go quietly without a fight. This is their challenge to the hits they have received this year. Note that the text of the bill makes it very clear that the current edition of the DSM is the entry point for its abusive provisions.

    I have noticed that Tim Murphy’s people have been deleting from his webpage all comments that criticize the measure, not only mine but those from other people!

  • cannotsay

    Good news, from one of those promoters of psychiatric abuse, Pete Earley. Apparently, NAMI is divided about the Murphy Bill http://www.peteearley.com/2013/12/16/dr-torrey-questions-new-nami-director-about-her-views-on-closing-hospitals/

    “It was endorsed by NAMI but insiders have told me that the national office has received numerous complaints from members who oppose Murphy’s bill.”

    Wow! Dividing the opposition this quickly. This is good!

  • cannotsay

    Phil,

    I want to wholeheartedly thank you for helping here. This is what AA had to say at Mad In America,

    “Just received email from Jennifer Mathis, with Bazelon Center, who
    said everyone should contact their congressman so that no one
    co-sponsors this bill. People in Eddie Bernice Johnson’s district near
    Dallas particularly need to do this since she is the only Democrat
    co-sponsoring the bill.

    Ms. Mathis doesn’t think the bill has any chance of support but it is
    important to make sure that no momentum starts building that could
    change this situation.”

    Apparently, the efforts to paint this a “hate, big pharma driven bill” are being successful. Time to double down. Even though I am not a constituent, I spoke to a lady in Eddie Bernice Johnson’s office that told me she would get back to Eddie. She had no clue what the DSM is, so I gave her a few examples like “binge eating” :D.

  • avignonplace

    Read the article in today’s Wall Street Journal (12/26/13), “A Mental-Health Overhaul”, and you cannot help but be in favor of the Murphy Bill. It is a huge misrepresentation to say it is about “coercive tactics”. Take the bill piece by piece and debate it. If you have experienced the mental healthcare system you would recognize that this legislation is badly needed and long over due.

  • cannotsay

    Hi there,

    I have read the portions of the bill that I find questionable that the WSJ is completely silent about beyond generalities. Please tell me what you think about the following which is explicit in the bill and the reasons I am spending so much time lobbying against it,

    – The weakening of the HIPAA protections for life . That’s right. Today the HIPAA protections state that unless there is a clear medical emergency that renders you unable to make your own decisions (and to achieve this there has to be a judicial process, it is not enough that some psychiatrist thinks you cannot make your own decisions) you can choose to deny your immediate family members (read hear abusive parents/spouses) access to your so called “mental health information”. The Murphy bill removes this restriction making your immediate family members, including those who ruined your life in the first place by committing you (like yours truly) your guardians for life on all mental health matters. This restriction is removed even for adults. So, this onto itself should get people in arms. But wait, there is more.

    – It forces states, as a condition to getting money from the federal government, to really violate the principles of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O%27Connor_v._Donaldson . The bill definition of “gravely disabled” is so shaky that it boils down to “whenever a psychiatrist thinks it to be necessary”, which is the standard that got me civilly committed. I have been wondering if the real reason this provision is in the proposed bill is to force the US Supreme Court to reevaluate Connor v Donaldson in a way that favors psychiatric abuse. This is how the bill defines “gravely disabled”,

    “(E) has a history of mental illness or
    condition that is likely to substantially deteriorate if the patient is
    not provided with timely treatment; or

    (F) due to mental illness, lacks capacity
    to fully understand or lacks judgment to make informed decisions
    regarding his or her need for treatment, care, or supervision.”

    You tell me! It cannot be more subjective than that given psychiatry’s non existing ability to predict who is going to become gravely disabled even if we agree what “gravely disabled” means in the first place. What one psychiatrist might call “grave disability” can be “the guy is a bit eccentric but he is otherwise doing fine” for another.

    Now if you think that so called “normal people”, however you define normality, cannot be affected by this, please consider that 50% of the American people will be eligible for a DSM label over their lifetimes according to this study performed under DSM-IV guidelines and published in American Psychiatry’s most prestigious scholar journal: http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=208678

    “Lifetime prevalence estimates are as follows: anxiety disorders, 28.8%;
    mood disorders, 20.8%; impulse-control disorders, 24.8%; substance use
    disorders, 14.6%; any disorder, 46.4%. Median age of onset is much
    earlier for anxiety (11 years) and impulse-control (11 years) disorders
    than for substance use (20 years) and mood (30 years) disorders. Half of
    all lifetime cases start by age 14 years and three fourths by age 24
    years. Later onsets are mostly of comorbid conditions, with estimated
    lifetime risk of any disorder at age 75 years (50.8%) only slightly
    higher than observed lifetime prevalence (46.4%). Lifetime prevalence
    estimates are higher in recent cohorts than in earlier cohorts and have
    fairly stable intercohort differences across the life course that vary
    in substantively plausible ways among sociodemographic subgroups.”

    The findings were made under DSM-IV guidelines. As Allen Frances, the
    chief editor of DSM-IV, explains in his book, DSM-5 takes diagnosis
    expansion to an entirely new level. The abusive provisions of the bill kick in when a psychiatrist assigns you a DSM label. If this bill were to become law, the expansionist DSM-5 would be governing the decisions, per the bill’s text.

    So I ask you back to read the bill itself and not base your judgements on the opinion of the WSJ Editorial Board who apparently has not read the bill either. Or if it has, it is fine with a massive invasion of privacy, which wouldn’t be surprising from a board that has also endorsed the massive surveillance operation carried out by the NSA in opposition of the conservative base.

    The WSJ and the National Review are becoming increasingly alienated from the values of the conservative base. As I mentioned in my email to two WSJ editorial board members, this Murphy bill might be the last straw that can push me to vote Democratic in all elections going forward despite my opposition to gay marriage and abortion.

  • Phil_Hickey

    cannotsay,

    I’m not sure that avignonplace is a real person. It looks like a widespread, concerted attempt to promote the bill, and I think avignonplace may just be a spider (bot? web crawler?) that’s contacting all websites that have mentioned Murphy’s bill. Also note that the WSJ article is unsigned.

  • cannotsay

    The WSJ article is an official endorsement by its editorial board of the bill. For some reason many in the right, not only the usual Big Business friends, find the bumper sticker slogan “only crazy people kill” appealing without noticing that the DSM, especially DSM-5, will be used against them to do gun control by way of diagnosis by a profession, psychiatry, that overwhelmingly supports gun control (in fact social control which is what they do).

    The good news is that the editors themselves understand, if you read the final paragraph, that the chances of the bill becoming law are minimal. They cite Joe Biden’s alternative bill and likely opposition from libertarians (ie, Ron and Rand Paul types) as likely obstacles. The number of co-sponsors of the bill continues to be low, 8 as I write this, and that means that the campaign against is being successful. We need to double down!

  • avignonplace

    Did anyone see NAMI’s letter of support for the bill? http://murphy.house.gov/uploads/NAMI%20Ltr.pdf. I don’t think you can accuse this organization of having ulterior motives. In fact, they typically take a liberal stance on political issues and yet they are supporting a Republican’s initiative. How do you explain that?

    I wonder what your experiences are with the mental healthcare system in this country. HIPAA protections restrict the ability to get help for someone suffering from a severe mental illness. It is unrealistic to think that a person with schizophrenia can make decisions regarding their care; that they will check themselves into a hospital. Anosognosia is a feature of the illness for heaven’s sake. Who gets to decide what the right course of action should be if not medical professionals and family?? A large proportion of people with mental illness have NO access to care. Are they supposed to figure it out on their own? The Murphy Bill is quite comprehensive in addressing many of the flaws in the current system.

  • cannotsay

    Oh dear! So you are real? NAMI is a front group of Big Pharma. An investigation by Republican Senator Chuck Grassley uncovered that they receive three fourths of their funding from Big Pharma companies: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/health/22nami.html?_r=0 .

    NAMI is well known in the survivor movement as an organization whose only mission seems to be make our life more difficult. On a personal note, NAMI played a significant role in my ex wife abandoning me for stopping my meds.

    Anosognosia is the n-th lie invented by the proponents of psychiatric abuse, like NAMI or Torrey, to justify their position. As Sandra Steingard explains here, it is nothing but yet the n-th time that psychiatry uses the nosology of something that is well known in the field of neurology to postulate nonsense: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/bipolar-advantage/201208/anosognosia-how-conjecture-becomes-medical-fact . Anosognosia, as used by NAMI or Torrey, is as real as Drapetomina. Look it up (I mean look drapetomania up).

  • cannotsay

    BTW, my conservative bona fides are as good as the Tea Party’s. It is from this perspective that I find it preposterous that people in the Republican Party are abandoning the principles of small government and individual freedom to propose an invasive big government, coercive agenda in the context of so called “mental health”. The backers of the bill are the usual haters: DJ Jaffe, the APA, NAMI, Torrey and the like. I cannot understand for the life of me who the RINOs have become so corrupt. Nonetheless these are the same RINOs that are backing the massive surveillance operation that the NSA has in place in opposition of the conservative base!

  • Cledwyn o the Bastards

    Untreated mental illness ranks highest in psychiatry’s demonology, the supposed dangerous example of which furnishes psychiatry with its casus belli in the war on mental illness.

    As the unwritten commandment states; thou shalt not leave a diseased mind untreated.

    This is one of psychiatry’s equivalent of the Decalogue.

    Here they are in full, the moral imperatives your state psychiatrist operates under:-

    -thou shalt do harm to a loony
    -thou shalt not kill any mentally healthy person (the mentally ill are legitimate prey)
    -love your mentally healthy neighbour as yourself. Ignore your mentally ill neighbour; the guy’s a loony!
    -thou shalt not bear false witness…. against anyone who is mentally healthy, that is.
    -thou shalt steal (me-in the Decalogue the commandment “thou shalt not steal” referred to the kidnapping and enslavement of people)
    -thou shalt not leave a diseased mind untreated, lest society is plunged into a pit of Dyonisian abandon; lest the god of mental health unleashes a tsunami of shit upon the species in punishment of such dangerous lunacy; lest society is overrun by turd slinging and shotgun-wielding loonies (me-and other such creatures of the imagination organized psychiatry terrorizes society with when necessary).

    There’s also some for us patients:-

    -thou shalt not have other gods before your psychiatrist.
    -honour thy father and thy mother, irrespective of whether they honour you.

  • Francesca Allan

    I wonder if anyone would ever publicly have the balls to point out that race is a better indicator of violence than untreated mental illness. It’s bad policy to create restrictive laws against the individual on the basis of perceived characteristics of their particular group. Even Rep. Murphy would understand this in a heartbeat when it comes to race. For some reason, though, raise the spectre of the unmedicated crazy person and all quaint notions of justice seem to fly out the window.

  • Francesca Allan

    Really sorry. I meant to say predictor, not indicator. I am not suggesting causation; I am reporting a purely statistical matter.

  • Cledwyn o the Bastards

    I can’t imagine many would have the guts, for fear of being set upon by a hysterical herd. Indeed, for most men, the collective pressure to take back a comment that casts doubt on the stereotype would no doubt cause most men to suppress the truth. Anything to ward off the Hydra the man who utters the truth inevitably encounters.