mental health reform https://mhanational.org/ en Why the New Mental Health Reform Law Passed, and What It Means to Me https://mhanational.org/blog/why-new-mental-health-reform-law-passed-and-what-it-means-me <span>Why the New Mental Health Reform Law Passed, and What It Means to Me</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/mpernell" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">MPernell</span></span> <span>Thu, 12/15/2016 - 12:09</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><em>By: Paul Gionfriddo, MHA president and CEO</em></p> <p>It is fair to say that a year ago, few people thought we’d be celebrating mental health reform as part of the last major legislation signed by President Obama. There were so many outstanding issues to resolve, and many on both sides appeared to have dug in their heels.</p> <p>But Congress did come through, due both to the dogged determination of a few key legislators, like Tim Murphy in the House and Chris Murphy in the Senate, and to the willingness of members of both parties and both chambers to find common ground.</p> <p>What changed the equation for us was that when the House and Senate proposals were offered in mid-2015 they were not only similar in their approach, but they were comprehensive as well. For the first time in a long time, we weren’t just talking about deep-end, post-crisis services and how we could educate sheriffs, judges, and correctional officers to divert people with late-stage mental illnesses from the criminal justice system. We were also talking about prevention, early intervention, and integrated health and behavioral health services. For the first time in many years, we were treating mental illnesses as public health – not public safety – matters.</p> <p>This gave advocates something around which we could come together. Whether we represented people with lived experience, family members, professionals, or providers, and whether we took a more clinical institution-based approach, or a community services-based approach, we could all agree that addressing mental health concerns before Stage 4 made a whole lot of sense.</p> <p>At Mental Health America, we offered scores of recommendations on both bills. At the same time, we major advocacy groups delivered a common message to Congress. We said that it was so important to pass legislation now that if members of Congress could find pathways to compromise, we could too.</p> <p>I met personally over the course of months with many members – Tim Murphy, Chris Murphy, Bill Cassidy, Fred Upton, Frank Pallone, Diana DeGette, Patty Murray, Chuck Schumer, and John Cornyn, to name a few. I even grabbed Paul Ryan one day in the airport to give a brief pitch, and asked an ever-gracious Todd Young to listen to a more extended one on a flight we shared to Florida.</p> <p>What impressed me about every member was that while they individually might have a special priority or differ in their approach, they were all committed to trying to get something done and all open to compromise.</p> <p>When the compromise legislation finally did emerge, the members of Congress overwhelming got behind it and showed us what that body is at its best. The President stepped up, too, adding mental health reform to his priorities, and making increasingly strong and positive statements about it as the year wore on.</p> <p>That’s why this legislation passed. And here’s what it means to me.</p> <p>My son Tim has lived with a serious mental illness for almost all his life. It wasn’t diagnosed early when it emerged during childhood. Even after it was, it was still treated as a behavioral, not a medical, problem. &nbsp;As a result, as a matter of public policy we sent Tim along a pathway to chronic homelessness, frequent incarceration, and occasional hospitalization. He’s been doing better the past year – a tribute to his resiliency more than anything else.</p> <p>I’ve seen first-hand, up close, and very personally what serious mental illnesses can do to individuals, their families, their friends, their educators, their employers, and their social support systems. I’ve seen how ill-prepared sheriffs, judges, lawyers, courts, and jails are to address mental health concerns.</p> <p>I’ve seen this as a parent and as a policymaker. &nbsp;And the conclusion to which I’ve come is that the problems we’ve created through the policy choices we’ve made laid foundations that severely limited the choices and pathways to recovery that people like Tim could make. </p> <p>We have needed a different approach. &nbsp;That’s what this new law gives us.</p> <p>It lays a foundation for a better system of care, services, and supports. &nbsp;It will open new doors for children and adults who live with mental health challenges. Over time, it will give people like Tim and the people who love them more pathways to recovery, and more choices along those pathways.</p> <p>There is a whole lot more we all need to do.</p> <p>But anyone who thinks this law – which strengthens SAMHSA, better coordinates our federal agencies, promotes innovation and evidence-based practice, establishes programs to help kids, promotes earlier intervention and better integration of health and behavioral health, gives more teeth to parity, supports suicide prevention, expands the mental health workforce, and demands a reduction in imprisonment of people with mental illnesses – isn’t the right approach either hasn’t read it, doesn’t care, or will never be satisfied by any law that could pass.</p> <p>It won’t happen overnight, but this law will help change the trajectories of lives like Tim’s. And for that, I am grateful to my Congress and my President, and feeling hopeful about the uncertain future.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/prevention" hreflang="en">Prevention</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/policy" hreflang="en">policy</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/b4stage4" hreflang="en">b4stage4</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/hr2646" hreflang="en">hr2646</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health-reform" hreflang="en">mental health reform</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-109062" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1483208836"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Samuel Dotson (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Sat, 12/31/2016 - 13:27</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/109062#comment-109062" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/109062#comment-109062" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Saving Mental Health Reform</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Thank you for this post. The 21st Century Cures Act is certainly a great achievement for our field, but I worry that many of its provisions become hollow if lose ground in a full ACA repeal. I'm a medical student at UNC Chapel Hill going into psychiatry, and I am working on a grassroots advocacy project to save the ACA's mental health provisions which my team thinks could be bipartisan targets. You can learn about our efforts at <a href="http://www.SaveMentalHealthReform.org">www.SaveMentalHealthReform.org</a>. Would MHA like to partner with us on this project? You can reach me at <a href="mailto:samuel_dotson@med.unc.edu">samuel_dotson@med.unc.edu</a>.</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=109062&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="ZYYL-Rdlwh5wRSM2_FNob7wWduIKXYAXviCFd9Tw4UE"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-109063" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1483496237"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Jeanne (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Tue, 01/03/2017 - 21:17</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/109063#comment-109063" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/109063#comment-109063" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Repeal of Affordable Care Act provisions for mental health</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>As a parent who has struggled with paying for medication and hospitalization for my adult child, I am deeply concerned about the effects the Republican monopoly on government will have in 2017 and thereafter. I am retired and the Affordable Care Act allowed me to support myself instead of only buying medication for my affected off-springs with my small pension. Will the new president and congress take back the help that we finally won for children and families who live daily in the shadow of mental health challenges?</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=109063&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="KjATT6RYhxqGKL3iMFdgcFvLTEbwgpH4k8Tkwj5_wJ8"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-109092" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1488432922"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Joyce Berryman (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Thu, 03/02/2017 - 00:35</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/109092#comment-109092" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/109092#comment-109092" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Caregivers</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Caregivers of mental health adults are discriminated against due to the lack of understanding how stressful this role is. After 4 years burn out and anxiety haunt you day and night. We need to be heard..we are the only thing keeping our loved ones safe.</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=109092&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="fU6npOfGkKbYNhbqOmfl0oBxUtSPUiSV4gCIarbBRlU"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1383&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="DuMqAHB2SxLvQ_Y1kQGoBAa87rfHbBnj1ulgul1dHHs"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 15 Dec 2016 17:09:45 +0000 MPernell 1383 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/why-new-mental-health-reform-law-passed-and-what-it-means-me#comments Mental Health America Reacts to Senate HELP Legislation https://mhanational.org/blog/mental-health-america-reacts-senate-help-legislation <span>Mental Health America Reacts to Senate HELP Legislation</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/ewallace" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">EWallace</span></span> <span>Thu, 03/10/2016 - 14:06</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p>By: &nbsp;Paul Gionfriddo, MHA president and CEO</p> <p>The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee released a draft of mental health reform legislation this week and invited comments from advocates.&nbsp; The committee plans to take it up on March 16.</p> <p>The draft does not follow the structure of either S. 1945 or H.R. 2646, but takes an entirely different approach.&nbsp; For example, it does not include a new Assistant Secretary, relying instead on the current Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation to play that role.&nbsp; It does not include the same new demonstration and innovation grant programs that were in the earlier proposal.&nbsp; It also does not include provisions related to AOT or ACT.&nbsp; It does include sections clarifying HIPAA and promoting Parity Law enforcement.</p> <p>Largely because of jurisdictional issues it also does not include Medicare and Medicaid provisions, such as revisions to the IMD statute or same-day billing restrictions.&nbsp;<br><br /> <br><br /> <strong>We thank the HELP Committee for this thoughtful draft.</strong></p> <p>In general, MHA appreciates that it pushes us forward in many areas of importance, including prevention, early identification and intervention, integration, and recovery. It does much to modernize the SAMHSA statute, and provisions such as parity enforcement and workforce planning will help millions of Americans get access to the behavioral health care that they need.</p> <p>We have also offered ten recommendations to the Committee to make the proposal stronger.</p> <p><strong>The recommendations are in the following areas:</strong></p> <ul> <li> <p>Translating findings to Medicaid</p> </li> <li> <p>Pay-Fors in the Bill</p> </li> <li> <p>Resilience Outcomes for Population Health</p> </li> <li> <p>Screening and Early Intervention</p> </li> <li> <p>Integration with Schools</p> </li> <li> <p>Supporting the Peer Workforce</p> </li> <li> <p>Ending Incarceration of Individuals with Serious Mental Illness</p> </li> <li> <p>Supporting Integration By Harmonizing Privacy Laws</p> </li> <li> <p>Primary Care and Behavioral Health</p> </li> <li> <p>Defunding Existing Programs</p> </li> </ul> <p>While we have addressed them all in detail in our communication to the Committee, let me review several of the most substantive ones here.</p> <ul> <li> <p>We presented several recommendations for translating the findings from the programs funded by the bill into the Medicaid program.</p> </li> <li> <p>We recommended replacing the current statute governing 42 CFR Pt. 2, which makes it harder for individuals to get behavioral health providers to release health records to other providers, and using the $75 million that this will save to offer $15 million in funding for the following five programs:</p> </li> </ul> <p style="margin-left: 80px;">o&nbsp;&nbsp; Peer Support Specialist Grants<br><br /> o&nbsp;&nbsp; Promoting Innovation Grants<br><br /> o&nbsp;&nbsp; Educational Integration Incentive Grants<br><br /> o&nbsp;&nbsp; Integration Incentive Grants<br><br /> o&nbsp;&nbsp; Community Mental Health Services Block Grant</p> <ul> <li> <p>We recommended that all funds saved through enactment of early intervention strategies and through an end to incarceration of nonviolent offenders with mental illness be redirected to support programs included in the new law.</p> </li> <li> <p>We recommended that the legislation result in the identification of short-term outcomes that could be used in value-based payment and population health models to predict long-term outcomes.&nbsp; This would create financial incentives for providers to get involved in resilience and prevention for their patient population.</p> </li> <li> <p>Because the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has recommended mental health screening for everyone over the age of eleven, including pregnant and post-partum women, we recommended adding a requirement that all entities receiving block grant dollars offer screening and early intervention to the individuals they serve – and that a significant percentage of dollars be directed to people under the age of eighteen, as is included in the House bill.</p> </li> <li> <p>We recommended a few modest statutory changes – which could have a profound positive effect on the lives of our children – to promote integration of educational, special educational, and behavioral health services for children.</p> </li> <li> <p>We recommended a more comprehensive approach to promoting the work of peers and the development of the peer workforce.</p> </li> <li> <p>We recommended that the legislation include the language in the House bill for the Interagency Coordinating Council to create a plan to end incarceration of individuals with serious mental illness or serious emotional disturbance for non-violent offenses within 10 years.</p> </li> <li> <p>We recommended an idea promoted by Senator Franken to improve pre-service training for all provider types in behavioral health.</p> </li> <li> <p>We expressed concerned about Sec. 409, which repeals a number of existing programs.&nbsp; We have not had time to review all of these in detail, but hope that these are simply programs that are no longer funded and not programs that are being defunded.&nbsp;</p> </li> </ul> <p>Our bottom line is this.&nbsp; The proposal is another good start, and further evidence of a bipartisan commitment to mental health reform during this session of Congress.&nbsp; That’s great, and we’re grateful.&nbsp; But there is still much work to be done.&nbsp; Members of the House and Senate need to work together to make this happen.&nbsp; And we’re not from the government, and are here to help!</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health-reform" hreflang="en">mental health reform</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/screening" hreflang="en">Screening</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/b4stage4" hreflang="en">b4stage4</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1139&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="a8v29iB6UL2icuWC8je1k9u6KW63iu7dAYfu4XNVU_A"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Thu, 10 Mar 2016 19:06:05 +0000 EWallace 1139 at https://mhanational.org Why It's Time to Come Together https://mhanational.org/blog/why-its-time-come-together <span>Why It&#039;s Time to Come Together</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/ewallace" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">EWallace</span></span> <span>Fri, 11/13/2015 - 14:32</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong><em>By: Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, MHA</em></strong></p> <p>I’ve now been at this job for about a year and a half, but I have to say, the last couple months has been the highlight to date. Because MHA and mental health advocates are at a pivotal moment. We could very well see <em>major</em> mental health reform—and for the first time in years there has been real, tangible progress on Capitol Hill. But not everyone in the mental health community has been supportive of the current legislation before Congress. There are legitimate concerns, but I want to speak directly to my fellow advocates right now, about why I think that mere opposition to legislation at this stage is short-sighted. &nbsp;</p> <p>I'll admit to my bias here—while as many of you know MHA has not endorsed a particular bill yet, we have taken a strong position that members of Congress should come together to pass something, we have actively offered our ideas (not all of which have been accepted), we have commended both sides for their efforts so far, and we believe that compromise from here is both possible and far preferable to the do-nothing alternative.</p> <p>Here's why. Since the failure of the Murphy and Barber bills last year, we worked as hard as anyone to engage directly with members of Congress (including Tim Murphy) to create a bill that would (1) not mandate AOT in all states, (2) not cut existing grant programs to fund new ones, (3) not gut PAIMI, (4) not gut SAMHSA, and (5) not be so focused on public safety and deep-end considerations at the expense of screening, earlier intervention, and services integration. We also wanted the professionalism of peers who worked among other clinical providers to be acknowledged.</p> <p>These things were not all that was in 3717 last year, but they were the major things that led us to oppose it. &nbsp;</p> <p>So we were pleased when Tim Murphy and Eddie Bernice Johnson introduced HR 2646 this year, because they listened to advocates and addressed all of these things.&nbsp; But in our view, while the bill was a good start, it did not get all the way there:</p> <ul> <li>It restored the PAIMI funding, but not all the essential advocacy duties;</li> <li>It did not clarify that the most restrictive AOT programs would not be forced on states;</li> <li>It appeared to bring all peer-delivered services under the supervision of clinicians, to which many advocates strenuously objected;</li> <li>It populated all SAMHSA's advisory councils with people with clinical backgrounds and/or no history of work with SAMHSA;</li> <li>By not referring to SED in certain areas, it left children out of some services and programs;</li> <li>By not identifying authorization levels for programs, it left open the possibility that existing programs might still be cut to fund new ones; and</li> <li>It did not make it national policy to end incarceration of people with mental illness.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>So we (and others) asked for more changes to be made.</p> <p>The result was an improved manager's amendment, which now includes:</p> <ul> <li>Clarity that there is no mandate for non-AOT states to adopt AOT;</li> <li>Clarity that the only peer services impacted by the best practices study - which we hope will lead to direct private insurance reimbursement of peer-delivered service - would be peers working formally in clinical care teams;</li> <li>Restoration of most if not all PAIMI functions;</li> <li>A plan to end incarceration of nonviolent offenders with MI within ten years;</li> <li>Continued support for early ID, intervention, and integration, with SED now added in several places;</li> <li>Loosening of 42 CFR pt. 2 to give individuals - not substance use providers - greater control over their full health records;</li> <li>Equal representation on the advisory councils between clinicians and non-clinicians;</li> <li>Continued support for innovation;</li> <li>Greater parity oversight;</li> <li>No cuts to existing programs; and</li> <li>Block grant flexibility (I do not know who proposed this; I imagine it could be dropped during the next round, but from the perspective of a mental health advocate, it is a good idea).</li> </ul> <p>However, after getting the initial score, the subcommittee also removed some other provisions we liked that cost money, including HIT and Excellence in MH Act support.</p> <p>I continue to believe that the current bill can be improved, if members of Congress work together and advocates push them to do so. &nbsp;</p> <p>If advocates speak with a consistent voice to policymakers, here are some of the things that I think are at least possible:</p> <ul> <li>The Open Dialogues concept could possibly be substituted to address the family/HIPAA issue.</li> <li>Some additional language that NDRN has identified could be added in the PAIMI section to clean it up (and remember, the current Senate bill does not include any PAIMI language at all).</li> <li>A financial incentive for states with ACT or other evidence-based programs, like the incentive for AOT, could be added.</li> <li>The future role of SAMHSA, and its relationship to the assistant secretary, could be better defined, ultimately clearly elevating the standing of mental health within the federal government (and we can all agree that this is needed, even if everyone can't agree on the route to getting there).</li> </ul> <p>Others of you may feel that more good things are possible too, and if so, our pledge is to continue to work with any organization(s) that would like to try to get these and other things into the bill during the next mark-up.&nbsp; Right now, all it would take is a few Congressional champions to emerge in each committee of jurisdiction who make inclusion of these things the centerpiece of their support of the legislation.</p> <p>I recognize that I'm probably a policy incrementalist at heart, but it's hard not to be when you've been involved in the process for many years.&nbsp; I understand that there are people or organizations who may still find all of these improvements inadequate and oppose any legislation that uses terms like "AOT" or "Assistant Secretary".&nbsp; I would strongly encourage them to think about the implications of a "just say no" approach this year.&nbsp; The risk is this: With lives at stake, we might get another opportunity next session or the one after to get a totally different bill, but we also might not get another opportunity to make this kind of a difference in our lifetimes - and history is littered with both public officials and advocates whose decisions not to take part of a loaf ultimately cost them the whole thing.</p> <p>Paul</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health-reform" hreflang="en">mental health reform</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/hr2646" hreflang="en">hr2646</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=1083&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="f7M6y19pD27faie32BnYBmOjNC-xLuT8bvuqCUkiwh4"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Fri, 13 Nov 2015 19:32:01 +0000 EWallace 1083 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/why-its-time-come-together#comments Another Big Step in the Journey to Mental Health Reform https://mhanational.org/blog/another-big-step-journey-mental-health-reform <span>Another Big Step in the Journey to Mental Health Reform</span> <span><span lang="" about="/users/ewallace" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">EWallace</span></span> <span>Tue, 08/04/2015 - 14:51</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field__item"><p><strong>By Paul Gionfriddo, president and CEO, MHA</strong></p> <p>Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) have now introduced the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015. While Mental Health America has not yet formally endorsed it or its House counterpart, we consider it another important step toward making comprehensive mental health reform a reality in America.</p> <p>It builds on H.R. 2646, the Murphy-Johnson proposal introduced two months ago in the House, incorporating many of the provisions that Mental Health America has made a priority in our advocacy for many years.</p> <p>The most important is in its emphasis on screening and early intervention, with substantive language identical to that in the House bill.&nbsp; I cannot underscore how important this is to our cause.&nbsp; If these proposals move forward and are reconciled someday soon, the fact that those provisions are identical will mean they won’t get lost.</p> <p>The same is true of other provisions common to both proposals. These include an emphasis on:</p> <ul> <li> <p>building community-based systems of care;</p> </li> <li> <p>enhancing the behavioral health workforce;</p> </li> <li> <p>innovation to develop new evidence-based programs;</p> </li> <li> <p>integration of health and behavioral health care, including measures to facilitate the sharing of health data needed for care integration;</p> </li> <li> <p>enforcement of parity in coverage between health and behavioral health services; and</p> </li> <li> <p>the elevation of behavioral health in the federal government, including increased coordination of services.&nbsp;</p> </li> </ul> <p>As we have argued, these are all essential components of a sound care delivery system.&nbsp; MHA was credited by Rep. Murphy in helping get them into HR 2646 earlier.&nbsp; We now thank Sen. Murphy and Sen. Cassidy for including them in the Senate bill, too.</p> <p>These legislative proposals and others, including an anticipated mark-up as early as this week in the Senate HELP Committee of mental health legislation sponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA), reflect a growing bipartisan energy in Washington around mental health that we have not seen in years.&nbsp; This energy, infused into the legislative process by MHA and so many of our supporters, is moving policymakers upstream in addressing mental health issues – and not waiting for crises to occur first.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are happy to see some new things in this Senate proposal – most notably funding levels attached to the new grant programs.&nbsp; And we’re happy to see something missing, too – any restriction on Protection and Advocacy services for people with mental illness.</p> <p>But there are also some things in the House version that are not in this one – the reauthorization of Garrett Lee Smith Act for suicide prevention, for example (but to be fair, this could be in the Alexander-Murray mark-up).</p> <p>And there’s a difference in how mental health lead agency at the federal level will be structured.&nbsp; Both create a new Assistant Secretary for Mental Health.&nbsp; The Senate version makes the SAMHSA Director report to the Assistant Secretary – a structure we opposed last year – while the House version essentially makes SAMHSA a part of the Assistant Secretary’s office.</p> <p>What else is missing from our perspective?</p> <p>We would still like to see more to support children with mental illness, including integrating special education and clinical services; more choice of services and supports for adults in recovery, including housing and employment support; and a commitment to end the incarceration of nonviolent offenders with mental illness within ten years.</p> <p>But like their counterparts in the House – Representatives Murphy and Johnson - Senators Cassidy and Murphy have taken another step in the right direction to address the failures that so obviously exist in our mental health system.&nbsp; They are to be commended for their effort and applauded for their willingness to stand up and be counted.</p> <p>We urge mental health supporters to work with us to ask Congress to pass comprehensive mental health reform legislation this year. The framework is now there and while it may be imperfect it is an opportunity to do some good.&nbsp; Let’s not let the opportunity pass.</p> <p>Based on what we’ve now seen and heard, we hope and expect that the differences and details can be ironed out in language we all can ultimately endorse.&nbsp;</p> <p>But this is MHA’s bottom line.&nbsp; Now is the time to erase the discrimination and stigma surrounding mental illness, to address mental health before Stage 4, and to intervene effectively to save lives and change the trajectories of people living with mental illnesses.</p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-tags field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Tags</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/mental-health-reform" hreflang="en">mental health reform</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/tags/tim-murphy" hreflang="en">tim murphy</a></div> </div> </div> <section> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-107656" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1438720036"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">RM (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Tue, 08/04/2015 - 16:27</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/107656#comment-107656" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/107656#comment-107656" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Cultural responsivenes</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>This sounds hopeful, but is there any attention in the language of the bills to ensure reducing disparities among many underserved groups in order to break the barriers of stigma and gain access to both prevention and treatment?</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=107656&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="F36vglhOcdRaBWHuVCw4tIz8k82J5LJopdbBp6trejA"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> <div class="indented"> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-107659" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1438799232"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Paul Gionfriddo (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Wed, 08/05/2015 - 14:27</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/107659#comment-107659" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> <p class="visually-hidden">In reply to <a href="/comment/107656#comment-107656" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Cultural responsivenes</a> by <span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">RM (not verified)</span></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/107659#comment-107659" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Cultural responsiveness</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>While there is little in the proposals that address disparities reduction in particular, this has become a priority for SAMHSA and will remain so in the coming years. In addition, our thinking in working so hard for the innovation grants is that a good deal of these dollars could find their way to the populations with the greatest unserved needs. Finally, if screening becomes ubiquitous - and it is favored in both proposals - this will help level the playing field over time.</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=107659&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="wwZXRC_vXiCU84aTUBNapeqb06epHZLjmUDR39Lu8I4"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> </div> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-107657" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1438732420"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Paul Zito (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Tue, 08/04/2015 - 19:53</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/107657#comment-107657" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/107657#comment-107657" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">Mental Illness</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>Thank you for all you do to improve the system. One small step leads to another.<br /> We have suffered with a 47 year old son,diagnosed with Schizophrenia for the past 30 Years.<br /> Thanks to clozapine he is highly functional but is barely making a decent living delivering pizza for Dominos in Smithfield, N.C. Minimum wage $7.25 .. Only part-time-no health benefits- BC/BS<br /> Under "affordable Health Care Act is a sham.</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=107657&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="gM2BevKiU08OSvyAg5hD00Vm7cE5jgMYXMLyltejcCU"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> <article role="article" data-comment-user-id="0" id="comment-107676" class="comment-wrapper comment js-comment by-anonymous clearfix"> <span class="hidden" data-comment-timestamp="1439569692"></span> <footer class="comment__meta"> <article typeof="schema:Person" about="/user/0"> </article> <p class="comment__author"><span lang="" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Heather Palmer (not verified)</span></p> <p class="comment__time">Fri, 08/14/2015 - 12:28</p> <p class="comment__permalink"><a href="/comment/107676#comment-107676" hreflang="und">Permalink</a></p> </footer> <div class="comment__content"> <h3><a href="/comment/107676#comment-107676" class="permalink" rel="bookmark" hreflang="und">We need an AOT</a></h3> <div class="field field--name-comment-body field--type-text-long field--label-hidden field__item"><p>At one point in time I was scared of the implementation of AOTs in our mental health community, but as I have been getting to know some fellow peers wuho've been incarcerated &amp; unmedicated in our local jail I see a great need here in Cortland, NY. A friend of mine has schizophrenia &amp; a history of substance abuse. He keeps getting put into jail, because there isn't anything in place here to court order him to take meds. We do have what they call EDPRT through local law enforcement (Emotionally Disturbed Person's Response Team) The officers are really making improvements, but they can only do so much! I fear for the safety of my friend &amp; others. Thank you.</p> </div> <nav><drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderLinks" arguments="0=107676&amp;1=default&amp;2=und&amp;3=" token="Uv5Mki7_j1J6MUvlKn6RoEUrJmiyOx2pa1vKUIoUTfM"></drupal-render-placeholder></nav> </div> </article> <h2>Add new comment</h2> <drupal-render-placeholder callback="comment.lazy_builders:renderForm" arguments="0=node&amp;1=992&amp;2=comment_node_blog_post&amp;3=comment_node_blog_post" token="WvAZP_w0WbJ-8rwP4seMZRAZTdygdjNMTi9QHtiuBiA"></drupal-render-placeholder> </section> Tue, 04 Aug 2015 18:51:36 +0000 EWallace 992 at https://mhanational.org https://mhanational.org/blog/another-big-step-journey-mental-health-reform#comments