The Murphy Bill Update
This workshop will discuss the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, H.R. 2646. This legislation, passed by the House of Representatives on July 6, 2016, is known as the "Murphy Bill" after its lead sponsor, Tim Murphy (R-PA). The bill has generated widespread concern among individuals with psychiatric labels. The versions of the bill that were introduced in 2013 and 2015 would have dramatically expanded psychiatric hospital beds, established a lower standard of privacy protection for individuals labelled with "serious mental illness," virtually eliminated the PAIMI (Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness) program, require states to have involuntary outpatient commitment laws in effect as a condition of receiving federal mental health block grants, restructured SAMHSA to have greater focus on psychiatry, and eliminated SAMHSA funding for peer support programs. While some of these provisions were subsequently eliminated or scaled back, significant concerns remain with the version of the bill that was passed. We will discuss the bill's key provisions and advocacy strategies to prevent provisions of great concern from becoming law.