by Kate Fitch

Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, pushed forward by Representative Tim Murphy, is ANTI-RECOVERY.


SAMHSA has established a working definition of recovery that we at the Network stand behind. It calls recovery “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” Beyond that, SAMHSA also established ten guiding principles of recovery. Several of these principles are completely dismissed by the Murphy Bill, and I’ll tell you why.

  1. Recovery is person-driven.
  2. This means that individuals are empowered to “lead, control, and exert choice over the services…that assist their recovery.” The Murphy Bill takes away this choice by pushing increased enforcement of involuntary outpatient commitment and expansion of inpatient settings. These types of settings are not exactly known for allowing patients to lead, control, and exert choice over services received. Where is the increase in funding toward evidence-based, person-first approaches like Psychiatric Advance Directives and Assertive Community Treatment? Absolutely nowhere in the Murphy Bill, that’s for sure.
  3. Recovery is instilled with respect.
  4. The violation of patient privacy rights established by HIPAA, and educational privacy rights established by FERPA, proposed in the Murphy Bill is incredibly disrespectful. Enormously sensitive information must be disclosed to care providers in mental health treatment, and if people feel that this information has the potential to be exposed to a “caregiver” or government agency charged with “keeping track” of health information, they are less likely to disclose it in the first place.
  5. Recovery occurs via many pathways and is holistic.
  6. The Murphy Bill pushes a single method of recovery – psychiatric treatment. Through increasing involuntary in/outpatient treatment settings, medicalizing the Peer Support profession, and emphasizing “brain-based” research initiatives, Murphy is clearly ignoring the larger social, relational, emotional, and spiritual aspects of recovery in favor of a single method. Psychiatric treatment is a huge component of many people’s recovery plans, but it is not the ONLY component.

Do you support recovery? Click here to sign the petition against this incredibly anti-recovery piece of legislation.

What’s this Murphy Bill all about? Part 3

Kate Fitch

I've been with the Network since 2015, when I started as a volunteer. I've been on staff as the Communications Specialist since January 2017. I'm currently in college and pursuing a dual BA in Public Health and Public Administration. I'm most passionate about making sure that people with mental health conditions are fairly represented in the media, at policy tables, and in treatment system planning. In my spare time, I like to crochet, knit, and be the best cat mom ever.

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