The Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act: the alternative to the Murphy Bill

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Contact your Representative TODAY to Urge Support for H.R. 4574

 The Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act

Last week, five mental health champions in the House of Representatives introduced the Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act.

Thank you to Representatives Ron Barber (AZ-2), Diana DeGette (CO-1), Doris Matsui (CA-6), Grace Napolitano (CA-32) and Paul Tonko (NY-20). Their bill gives us a forward-looking alternative to regressive mental health legislation. Yet it is already the target of extreme misrepresentation in the press, and is being attacked on social media as well.

By supporting this bill, you will give its sponsors a strong hand in negotiating for sensible mental health legislation. Here’s why the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery supports this bill, and what you can do to help it gain momentum in Congress.

We support this bill because:

  •  The purpose of this legislation is to promote health and recovery and reduce crisis, homelessness, institutional care and incarceration through the provision of timely community-based services, trauma-informed care, prevention, engagement and peer-to-peer services.
  •  The bill affirms the right of Americans with disabilities to live and fully participate in their chosen communities.
  •  The sponsors welcomed our input, and the bill requires a strong presence of people with lived experience in the policymaking process.
  •  HR 4574 focuses on the roots of the problems we face: gaps in voluntary, community-based services that fuel the epidemics of unnecessary hospitalization, incarceration, homelessness, and crisis.
  •  The bill preserves Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) programs that create opportunities for peer-to-peer and family-to-family networks to promote recovery, healing from trauma, and other needed supports in our communities.
  •  The bill calls for the reauthorization and full funding of the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program, a program that protects the rights of individuals with mental health needs in education, housing, employment, health care, and other areas, as well as investigating and ending systemic abuse and neglect.

What you can do:

H.R. 4574 needs bipartisan support: encourage your Representative to cosponsor. And show your support on Facebook and other social media.

The press has come out against the new legislation and for the Murphy bill. Your legislators need to hear why the Barber bill represents a much more hopeful direction in mental health legislation, and Mr. Murphy’s direction is NOT the way to go.

Click here to call your Representative NOW and leave the following message:

“I am (name, affiliation, city). Please tell my Representative to cosponsor H.R. 4574, the Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act. This bill would increase access to community-based mental health services and strengthen our mental health system – asking more from existing programs and better outcomes for individuals and families impacted by mental health challenges.”

(Leave your phone number if you want a return call.)

Use social media to show your support!

  •  Please go to the Facebook pages of Reps. Ron Barber (AZ-2), Diana DeGette (CO-1), Doris Matsui (CA-6), Grace Napolitano (CA-32) and Paul Tonko (NY-20) and express your thanks and support for the legislation.
  •  Keep your comments short, positive, and focused on the improvements represented in HR 4574. “Thank you, Rep. (name). This legislation is a significant improvement.”
  •  If you are on Twitter, please Tweet your support and thank Representative Barber and his colleagues using the hashtag ‪#‎strengthenMH‬

For more information, contact media (at) ncmhr.org.

 

About Monica Cassani

Author/Editor Beyond Meds: Everything Matters