Month: June 2016

BARBARA LEE WANTS YOUR HELP

This afternoon I attended my first meeting with the DNC platform drafting committee to discuss the policy platform that will be officially endorsed by the Democratic Party.
I look forward to being part of the team as a member of the platform drafting committee, and am very excited about all the momentum that has surrounded this primary election cycle.
Now it’s time to get to work presenting our views and translating our policy proposals into the platform that will be endorsed by our party. It’s very important that we hear from you during this process, which is why I am asking you to share what you’d like included in the platform.
I am so proud of the young people, the progressives, people of color, and all the Democrats who have participated in the democratic process. Throughout the primary we have generated great energy within the party, which we will need to win in November.
It is so important that we come out of the convention unified and prepared to defeat Donald Trump. Together we will create a platform that is progressive, and one that everyone can endorse and rally around.
Barbara Lee
Barbara Lee
Member of Congress

 

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WILL CONGRESS BLOW CHANCE TO FIX MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM?

Senator Roy Blunt speaks on Capitol Hill, urging other senators to pass the Excellence in Mental Health Act.

Every day, when I am walking to work, or just walking through the streets of downtown Washington, I encounter homeless people on the street.

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The homeless cover many categories, but prominent among them are those with serious mental illnesses. They know no boundaries of race or education; there was a prominent story last year in the Washington Post of a homeless man with schizophrenia who told a judge that he didn’t need a lawyer, that he was a lawyer. When the judge reacted with bemused skepticism, the man informed the judge—accurately—that they had been in the same class at Harvard Law School (which also included Chief Justice Roberts!)

I used to pass most of the people on the streets by studiously looking the other way, sometimes reacting with annoyance if someone was talking to himself or shouting. But after a difficult, 10-year journey of serious mental illness with my brilliant and talented son, which ended in tragedy, I have a different attitude.

Continue reading “WILL CONGRESS BLOW CHANCE TO FIX MENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM?”

MENTAL HEALTH REFORM BILLS IGNORE SMI

DJ Jaffe Executive Director, Mental Illness Policy Org, reports in the National Review online that Mental Health Reform bills H.R. 2646 and H.R. 2646, currently working their way through Congress, have been rewritten so extensively the bills no longer provide the necessary help that’s demanded for people with serious mental illness.
When they returned in June, House and Senate leadership indicated they may take up rewritten mental health bills originally proposed by Representative Tim Murphy (R., Penn.).
The House will consider the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) as rewritten by Representative Fred Upton (R., Michigan) and the Senate will consider the Mental Health Reform Act (S. 2680) as adopted by Senators Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), Chris Murphy (D., Conn.), and Bill Cassidy (R., Louisiana). The well-intentioned rewrites keep some important provisions of Tim Murphy’s original bill, but they ignore a core finding of Murphy’s multi-year investigation of the mental-health system.

Continue reading “MENTAL HEALTH REFORM BILLS IGNORE SMI”

BIPOLAR TEEN’S STRUGGLE

This is the third part of the excellent KQED Radio News series on the challenges of mental health in California.  Reporter Shariah Vroman-Nagy who tried to kill herself three years ago. She was diagnosed as bipolar shortly after and has had to endure an unending struggle to get treatment. After Shaiah’s  attempted suicide, her family fought a protracted battle with insurance companies as they sought care. Dembosky’s report highlights the cold and ruthless tactics big insurance companies use when it comes to not paying for mental health treatment. Follow this link for the full report:

http://ww2.kqed.org/stateofhealth/2016/06/01/depressed-teens-struggle-to-find-mental-health-care-in-rural-california/RS19653_0506

THE COST OF NOT CARING

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This is a must read for every proactive caregiver.  VOM&O congratulates USA TODAY on excellent reporting.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/12/mental-health-system-crisis/7746535/

In this special report, USA TODAY reveals that more than half a million Americans with serious mental illness are falling through the cracks of a system in tatters.

The mentally ill who have nowhere to go and find little sympathy from those around them often land hard in emergency rooms, county jails and city streets. The lucky ones find homes with family. The unlucky ones show up in the morgue.

“We have replaced the hospital bed with the jail cell, the homeless shelter and the coffin,” says Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Pa., a child psychologist leading an effort to remodel the mental health system. “How is that compassionate?”

Continue reading “THE COST OF NOT CARING”