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

Mental Health Rights in Danger: Action Needed!

A hearing by the House Energy and Commerce Committee began at 10:30 a.m. on H.R. 3717, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013”. If passed, this bill would strip people with psychiatric disabilities of their rights and voice. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA), the bill sponsor, is using yesterday’s tragic shooting in Fort Hood, Texas, as political fodder to ram this bill through. People with psychiatric disabilities have important contributions to make towards a sustainable mental health system, and entities that protect their rights, such as Protection & Advocacy Agencies, must not be stripped of federal funding that supports mental health rights legal advocacy.

Take Action

We urge you to contact your U.S. Representative by phone or email today. The Murphy bill is picking up steam fast:

  • More Representatives are signing on, especially Democrats.
  • Yesterday’s tragic shooting at Fort Hood could cause more Representatives to sign on for the wrong reasons.
  • Today’s hearing is promoting H.R. 3717 and vilifying people in recovery.

You may also use the online form created for this issue to contact your Representative.

The Message

“I am [Name], from [City, State]. Tell my Representative not to cosponsor H.R. 3717, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. It would hurt people like me, not help us. This Bill discriminates against people with mental illness. It strips our rights and protection against abuse. It increases forced psychiatric treatment that is traumatizing, criminalizing and scares people from seeking help. It ends grants that help the most vulnerable people in our district. It will not make our community safer.”

Leave your phone number if you want a return call. Please share this message widely.

Sources: Access Living and National Coalition on Mental Health Recovery

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