Monday, June 13, 2016

Pass a strong H.R. 2646 focused on seriously mentally ill

Statement by DJ Jaffe, Exec. Dir (6.14.2016)

 “H.R. 2646 sends the seriously mentally ill to the head of the line for services rather than to jails, shelters, prisons and morgues.”

“The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR2646) being proposed by Representatives Tim Murphy (R., PA) and E.B. Johnson (D., TX) starts to bring sanity to the insane mental health policies that are rampant in government. Historically, government agencies have ignored the seriously ill in order to promote “mental wellness” in all others. This bill starts to bring that practice to an end by focusing government on the elephant in the room: getting evidence-based treatment to adults known to be seriously mentally ill.  It replaces years of federal mission-creep with a dose of mission-control. That will help reduce homelessness, arrest, incarceration, hospitalization, and violence, while saving taxpayers money.” 

“We thank Representatives Tim Murphy, E.B Johnson, Fred Upton and Frank Pallone. We urge the E&C Committee to put a doctor at the head of SAMHSA and CMHS, fund Assisted Outpatient Treatment, increase the number of hospital beds, free parents from HIPAA Handcuffs and start to focus federal efforts on the elephant in the room: getting science based treatment to adults with serious mental illness, rather than on programs based on pop-psychology and pseudo-science.

(End of statement)

Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) (See research summary:
  • Cuts homelessness, arrest, incarceration, violence and hospitalization for the most seriously ill by 70%.  
  • Saves taxpayers 50% of the cost of care.
  • Only for the small group of the most seriously ill who refuse or are unable to comply with voluntary treatment and already put themselves or others at-risk.
  • Supported by Int’l Assoc. of Chiefs of Police, National Sheriff’s Assoc., SAMHSA, DOJ, AHRQ, NAMI, and others.

Reform SAMHSA and CMHS (See
  • According to SAMHSA’s former Chief Medical Officer:
“SAMHSA does not address the treatment needs of the most vulnerable in our society. Rather, the unit within SAMHSA charged with addressing these disorders, the Center for Mental Health Services, chooses to focus on its own definition of “recovery,” which generally ignores the treatment of mental disorders…There is a perceptible hostility toward psychiatric medicine: a resistance to addressing the treatment needs of those with serious mental illness and a questioning by some at SAMHSA as to whether mental disorders even exist—for example, is psychosis just a “different way of thinking for some experiencing stress?” (
  • SAMHSA and CMHS replaced the “medical model” with an internally invented “recovery model” that requires even the most seriously ill to “self-direct” their own care. (John Hinckley was ‘self-directing’ when he tried to get a date with Jodi Foster by shooting Pres. Reagan)
  • There is virtually no support for SAMHSA or CMHS other than from the organizations they fund that want to continue to receive funds free of an obligation to serve the seriously ill.  
Other ways to improve care for seriously mentally ill
  • Create hospital beds 2) Free parents from HIPAA Handcuffs 3) rein in anti-treatment activities of PAIMI.
We hope legislators will put a doctor at the head of both SAMHSA and CMHS like all other federal medical agencies. We also hope they will define "evidence-based," a term used throughout the bill to mean
“a program or practice that has independent evidence it improves a meaningful outcome in adults with mental illness or children with serious emotional disturbance.”   “Meaningful outcomes" includes reductions in homelessness, hospitalization, arrest, incarceration, violence, and suicide or other outcomes."
SAMHSA and CMHS rarely do any of that. The evidence they use is not independent, the programs are not for mentally ill, and the outcomes they measur are rarely the meaningful ones.

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Mental Illness Policy Org. is a non-partisan, science-based think tank focused exclusively on the 4% of adults who have the most serious mental illnesses. We accept no government, healthcare or pharmaceutical company funding and are supported almost exclusively by families who have seriously mentally ill loved ones who the mental health system refused to treat and experienced heartbreaking tragedies as a result.