The Many Problems with the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act

We haven’t yet spoken up about the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013 (HR 3717), sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy because we were hoping Congress would see through this less-than-subtle attempt to gut SAMHSA, coerce states to pass new forced-treatment laws (even if their citizens don’t want them), and create yet another huge federal bureaucracy in the Department of Health and Human Services that nobody has asked for, with no data to support its creation, and that nobody wants.

Sadly, that hasn’t happened. The least offensive parts of the bill are starting to get passed, and that suggests that there may be some momentum to pass the more offensive, egregious components in the future.

So here are the major problems with this bill, and why it stinks for everyone — especially patients.

You can kind of tell this isn’t a bill directed at patients and helping patients in the mental health system simply by its name, “The Helping Families In Mental Health Crisis Act.” You see that there — families. Not people with mental illness. This is about helping families deal with a family member who has an apparent mental illness — not about helping the actual people with a mental illness.


Thank you for bringing this one to light. Our government has been so angry and ugly lately. This place is a mess.

I never even knew this act existed until now. I will be looking into it now that I know it exists. Thanks Firemonkey.

Congressman Tim Murphy, PhD, a psychologist by training, has introduced comprehensive legislation to help individuals and families living with severe mental illness.

This bill, HR 3717, called the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, is designed to reduce the barriers to treatment for those who need it most.