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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

An Update from the NCIL Mental Health Civil Rights Task Force

NCIL’s Mental Health Civil Rights Task Force continues to monitor the progress of and fervently oppose H.R. 3717. As you may remember from previous NCIL Action Alerts, H.R. 3717, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013, if enacted, would seriously impede the civil rights of people labeled with psychiatric disabilities as well as significantly reversing the gains made in mental health services and supports. Among other provisions, the bill proposes to:

  • Ensure that doctors and the health industry are in charge of mental health policy rather than consumers
  • Cut support for peer support programs
  • Lead to fewer individuals receiving the treatment they desire and need
  • Coerce states financially to require involuntary “treatment” for people who are “gravely disabled” and make other changes to commitment laws
  • Make it easier to discriminate against people who have a mental health diagnosis in housing, employment, and education
  • Limit the ability of Protection & Advocacy systems to protect people with mental health diagnosis

While working to oppose the bill, members of the Task Force are also working closely with other organizations to help craft an alternative piece of legislation.

We need people who want to get involved and join us in taking action. The Mental Health Civil Rights Task Force meets via teleconference on the first Thursday of the month at 3:00 Eastern. If you are on Facebook, please visit the Task Force’s page: Mentally Healthy Independent Living. NCIL Task Force members frequently post articles of interest and updates on issues the Task Force is working on. For more information about the Task Force, please contact Shoshanna Fawley or Krista Erickson at


  1. Daniel Culley-Foster says

    It appears like this bill is harmful to those with mental illness. It needs to be defeated or amended. My name is Daniel Culley-Foster and I wish you success in your efforts.

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