ACTIVISTS UNITE ACROSS AMERICA LOBBYING U.S. CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES TO SUPPORT MENTAL HEALTH CIVIL RIGHTS

Press Release

For Immediate Release

Activists Unite Across America Lobbying U.S. Congressional Candidates to Support Mental Health Civil Rights

 WASHINGTON, DC (8/21/14) –To influence congressional candidates up for election this November, a group of mental health activists have formed a Political Action Committee (PAC) called Stop The Murphy Bill. This PAC was organized to advocate for the civil rights of persons with mental health histories by pushing back against the highly controversial Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, HR3717, introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy.

These and other activists have been successful in their efforts to prevent this bill from moving further in Congress. Now that a national network has been established, they are capitalizing on the mid-term elections to assure that efforts to stop the bill move forward.

HR3717 includes provisions that would make it easier to commit persons to inpatient psychiatric treatment against their will, loosen confidentiality laws, and destroy the federally mandated program that protects the rights of persons with disabilities.

“The PAC will advocate for legislation that reduces forced psychiatric treatment and increases funding for alternatives to it. We will educate Congress and the public about the harms of forced psychiatric treatment,” said PAC spokesperson Jeanne Peschier.

 Over the coming weeks, the PAC will lobby congressional candidates to oppose the Murphy Bill. This group is collaborating with the advocacy initiative National Mental Health and Dignity Day (NMHDD).

 “By supporting this PAC, we intend to use our networks to provide further opportunities for individuals to advocate for themselves and their peers. We were happy to see such success this year and hope that further momentum will have an even greater impact,” said NMHDD co-founder Scott Spicer.

 These efforts are being led by people who have lived experience with mental health challenges. They are also appalled at the recent decision to disband the Mental Health Caucus in the U.S. House and plan to get answers as to why and how this occurred.  

 “We do this because many of us know what it’s like to feel as though you have no choices and the system is only there to hurt you. We want to change that and make it clear, through our own success stories, that we need recovery and hope, not pain and despair,” said Peschier.

To find out more about this effort, visit: http://www.mentalhealthdignityday.org/political-action-committee.html or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/stopmurphybillpac/ and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NMHDignityDay

Contact: Jeanne Peschier, peers@mentalhealthdignityday.org