Murphy’s Mental Health Bill: An Update

Yesterday, December 26, at 8:25 p.m., the following comment was posted on my December 16 post on the Murphy Mental Health Bill.

“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.”

I read the Wall Street Journal article, and it is truly a disturbing document.  Here are some quotes:

“Severe mental illness is the common link among the recent mass shootings…”

I know of no study that supports this contention.  What is clear is that many, perhaps most, of the individuals in question had been taking psycho-pharma products, but neither the government, nor pharma, nor psychiatry has undertaken to explore this relationship.

 “Mr. Murphy, a psychologist, has spent the year since Sandy Hook studying the problem.  His House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations has dug into federal policies, and his reform is aimed at helping the next Adam Lanza before he strikes.”

There is no way to identify the “next Adam Lanza.”  Any attempt to move pre-emptively against the “next Adam Lanza” will inevitably deprive numerous young people of their civil rights while missing the one-in-ten-million person who actually poses a genuine threat.  What’s going to happen here is that we will effectively criminalize social awkwardness.

“The secretary would have to be a medical professional and would be responsible for promoting the medically oriented models of care adopted by the National Institute of Mental Health, or NIMH.”

These are the same medically oriented models of care that prescribe neuroleptics for 2-year-olds and have turned neuroleptics and antidepressants into block-buster drugs.

“The Murphy bill also uses grant money to push states to modernize their mental-illness laws.  Some 23 states still allow for involuntary commitment only if a mentally ill person is an imminent danger to himself or others. This standard is nearly impossible to meet, and even psychotics are often able to present a brief façade of normality.  Many are unaware they’re even ill and won’t voluntarily get help.”

If anything, the present laws make it too easy to commit someone.  Also note the dismissive, disparaging language – “even psychotics”!

The article takes a back-handed swipe at the survivor movement:

“The Murphy legislation also addresses one of the more destructive forces in the mental-health system:  the legal lobby.  Many Americans may be shocked to know their tax dollars are funding a small army of self-anointed ‘advocates’ who encourage the mentally ill to avoid treatment, and who fight parental and court attempts to get them care.  The Murphy bill stops this funding.”


This comment, by avignonplace, and the Wall Street Journal article are clearly parts of a coordinated attempt to use the public concern over the mass murders to expand psychiatric influence, to sell more drugs, and to facilitate the use of involuntary commiment.  I have been unable to uncover any information about avignonplace, and the WSJ article is unsigned!

Psychiatry has come under a great deal of criticism in recent years.  They have no legitimate response to these criticisms.  So they hit back with this regressive legislation.  Just when we think psychiatry can’t go any lower, guess what – they go lower.  How many psychiatrists are speaking out against this bill?

Please, if you have not already done so, contact your political representatives and ask them not to support this bill.  Your voice counts.

  • cannotsay


  • cannotsay

    I also spent time debunking similar nonsense here yesterday . The posts signed by “Guest” (which the capital, not the ones that all lower case) are mine. As you can see, another psychiatrist (guest, all lower case) finally gave up when he/;she understood that the nonsense he/she was promoting had no factual basis.

  • Francesca Allan

    You did good work there, cannotsay. The author of the article, Sally Satel, sticks in my mind as the originator of the phrase “benign paternalism.”

    Strangely, she just co-authored an article in the Skeptical Inquirer where she was quite candid about how little information current neurological science can provide. She did not, of course, link this to psychiatry in any way.

  • cannotsay

    Thanks, as I told “guest” (all lower case), I see this bill as the single most important threat to my own well being than any of the imaginary illnesses that psychiatrists invent or my own fear to HIV/germs. Boy, boy, it is painful to realize that there are so many haters in my own party!

  • cannotsay

    Fresh from Twitter, a CCHR guy from the UK tells me he is inquiring with this American friends about the bill . Boy, I think that if CCHR got involved (and I do not understand how is that they have not been involved yet), this would be a complete different game.

  • Ana Maria De La Guardia

    This philip hickey its the most stupid person i ever known

  • bulbous1

    This Murphy talks some unbelievable crap.

    Supposedly, “mentally ill” people have “a right to be well”!

    What next, “a right to immortality”? “A right to be beautiful”? “A right to be happy”?

    Rights refer only to that to which we can reasonably lay claim. Ill-health is an ineluctable fact of human existence, so how can we be said to possess a “right to be well”?

    What next, terminally and chronically ill people instituting legal proceedings against Nature for violations of their “right to be well”? Whilst we are at it, let’s get God get in the dock as well, and Fate, and Fortune, and all the rest of the human rights violating scum.

    For the sake of argument, let’s assume that people can reasonably be said to have such a right (which of course, they can’t), the poor fellow is just hoisting himself with his own petard, because the only evidence forthcoming of ill-health is that caused by the very quacks to whose charge are confided the people whom Nature, in her wanton disregard for human rights, has supposedly laid low with “mental illness”.