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From the Advocacy Desk

U.S. Senate Committee Passes Mental Health Bill [if !supportLineBreakNewLine]

It will be a dark day for sufferers of so-called mental illnesses if this bill passes the House and Senate. Earlier this week it was announced that the U.S. House Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee has approved bipartisan mental health reform legislation H.R. 2646 (also known as “Murphy’s Bill”).

There are so many problems with this bill. It's easy to lock people up, misdiagnose them with mental illnesses that do not exist and forcibly medicate. The Truth about the Murphy's Bill: 1. The bill is not about helping the “mentally ill”. 2. While the so-called mentally ill are often the first to be blamed when it comes to violence, there is in fact, no proven link between mental illness and gun violence. There are plenty of incidents of people who have no history of “mental illness” creating violent acts. As one report stated, “There are an average of 32,000 gun deaths per year. The majority of these killings are done by family members, loved ones, friends, etc. who are not considered mentally ill. 3. There is absolutely no evidence to speak of that the "go to" interventions proposed by this bill would have stopped even one of the recent acts of gun violence. None. Zero. However, there are plenty of documented incidents of people with no history of violence becoming violent after being forced to be on psychotropic drugs. For more information, see Psychiatric Drugs and Violence. For more information about the relationship between violence and psychotropic drugs, see The Dark Side of Psychotropic Drugs.

4. This bill infringes on individual’s basic human rights. How would any of you who are not labeled as “mentally ill” feel if your rights to privacy and freedom to make decisions were being compromised? Yet because someone is determined to be "mentally ill", they now no longer have the right to choose. Who are we to say someone is or isn't in their right mind? What no one realizes nor acknowledges is thus: a lot of those psychotropic drugs are the cause of the abnormal thoughts and behaviors. There is plenty of evidence to support this. For more information, I recommend reading Dr. Peter Breggin’s blog, Medication Madness: How Psychiatric Drugs Cause Violence, Suicide, and Crime 5. Blaming the so-called mentally ill steers people away from the real issues. It's not mental illness that leads to gun violence. It's hatred. Forcing the so-called mentally ill into dangerous treatments will not reduce gun violence. Hatred is not going to stop by locking people up and forcing them into dangerous and ineffective treatments, thereby taking away their rights. If anything, it is only going to exacerbate the problem. As Ron Unger wrote in his blog, Violence and "Mental Illness": Most Proposed Solutions Would Make Both Worse, states:

“And when people are forced into treatment, they frequently are traumatized as a result, which typically leads to more mental health problems. Later, they are likely to fear the mental health system, and so avoid further treatment even when they need it. The treatments that are mandated by force often are ineffective and may even be harmful. Poorly thought-out mental health treatment also can increase the risk of violent crime. There is strong evidence that all the major categories of psychiatric drugs can increase tendencies to harm oneself or others, either while taking the drugs or while withdrawing from them.” Notice he says, “while taking the drugs”. Not just while withdrawing. The time has come for our voice to be heard and for us as a society to stop blaming mental illness for every act of violence. Instead, let’s focus on what is going on in someone’s life that causes him or her to resort to these horrible acts. It is time to stand up for truth instead of convenience. Write your Senator today and state why you oppose H.R. 2646, Murphy’s Bill.


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