MENTAL HEALTH AMERICA AND BAZELON HOPE TO DERAIL REPUBLICAN PLAN
House Democrats will introduce a mental health bill later this week to challenge the Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) the only psychologist in Congress. Murphy was hoping to get his bill submitted for a vote next month on the House floor and had garnered some 70 cosponsors and editorial support recently from The Washington Post.
Fears that Rep. Murphy’s bill was moving forward and might actually become law alarmed mental health groups that oppose the legislation. Mental Health America, the largest consumer mental health grassroots organizations, and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, which is the non-profit organization that championed the fight for civil rights for persons with mental disorders decades ago and remains an influential legal watchdog for consumers, worked tirelessly behind the scenes against the bill. Gina Nikkel from the Foundation For Excellence in Mental Health Care, an upstart umbrella non-profit group initially launched by author Robert Whitaker and championed by Virgil Stucker of CooperRiiss, also criticized the bill.
Before resigning as president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Executive Director Mike Fitzpatrick put NAMI on record as supporting Rep. Murphy’s legislation. That move reportedly caused an uproar among NAMI board members, including complaints from NAMI’s growing consumer membership base who feared the new law would infringe on their civil rights