the advocacy monitor

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 follow two significant pieces of federal mental health legislation. As you may recall, Representative Tim Murphy introduced H.R. 3717, the “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013” last December. This bill would reauthorize SAMHSA programs without the reforms NCIL supports. It also singles out people who are “disabled” (but not dangerous) for involuntary treatment. The bill also cuts support for advocacy and mental health peer support. NCIL opposes H.R. 3717 and other bills that single out people for reduced rights based on disability.

Recently, Representative Ron Barber introduced H.R. 4574, the “Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act of 2014”. This bill also reauthorizes SAMHSA programs without the reforms NCIL supports.

NCIL supports H.R. 4574. We urge Representatives to support amendment of the bill with the following reforms:

  • A majority of consumers should be established on state mental health planning and advisory councils (which are required to review and comment on state community mental health block grant – MHBG plans)
  • Each state should provide for consumer peer support organizations and / or consumer-run community mental health services in its MHBG plan; and
  • State mental health planning and advisory councils should coordinate activities with Statewide Independent Living Councils under section 705 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Please contact your members of Congress regarding these bills. If you’ll be attending NCIL’s Annual Conference next month, updates on this topic will be provided as we prepare for Congressional Visits.

The NCIL Mental Health Civil Rights Task Force meets the first Thursday of every month at 3:00 Eastern. The next meeting will be on Thursday, August 7, 2014.

Special thanks to Mike Bachhuber for contributing to this report.

Speak Your Mind

*