Concerns:The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act

Letter of Concern

Regarding the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646)

We, the undersigned members of the scientific community,  individuals with lived experience of “serious mental illness”, and affected family members join together to express our grave concern with The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646, introduced on June 4, 2015 by Reps. Tim Murphy (R-PA), and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX).

While we applaud Representative Murphy’s commitment to bringing attention to the antiquated programs and ineffective policies in place throughout our country’s mental health system, H.R. 2646 will greatly increase the likelihood of decreased engagement with services, increased rates of suicide and violence, higher rates of disability, and increased rates of mental illness across all segments of society. To quote Representative Murphy, “mental illness does not discriminate” and we are all in danger of being negatively affected by this bill’s proposed programs and alterations in law.

The word “evidence-based” appears in this legislation numerous times. We support valid science used to advance public interest and public health. For this reason, we are concerned that this legislation contradicts the current evidence-base, ignores a robust body of scientific literature, and will lead to an increase in the already inflated epidemic of mental illness and ineffective treatment of it. Further, it decreases civil liberties and violates the human rights of the very individuals it purports to help, while making it law that any individual or organization that promotes complementary and alternative approaches be defunded.

We are aware that numerous mental health and family organizations have written letters in support of this bill; these organizations all have substantial conflicts of interest and/or significant financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, as does Representative Murphy, which stand to benefit greatly from this piece of legislation. The signators below have no such conflicts of interest. We advocate for humane, empirically-based, effective treatment and preventative approaches for all human beings in distress.

We urge you to consider the perilous consequences, without scientific justification, this bill could have on public health, disability funding, and the value of freedom we, as Americans, hold dear. Given the stigma, discrimination, and shame already surrounding mental health problems and the serious human rights issues at stake, we have written a lengthy statement clarifying the research and outlining the robust evidence-base that is summarily ignored and distorted throughout H.R. 2646.

Please contact us using the link below for a copy of the full and/or summary statement.


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