Republican Congressman, Tim Murphy, is the only practicing psychologist in congress. During his time on Capitol Hill, he has seen the obscene federal spending on grants to universities to research unproven theories. He has seen a big lack of accountability in how federal money is spent.
When the Sandy Hook school tragedy happened, Murphy "connected the dots" and saw just how disastrous out mental health crisis was becoming. He could no long claim ignorance.
He took on a mission to fix a problem in the federal government. That problem is unaccountability. Congress finally had a real psychologist asking real tough questions of organizations who were treating tax dollars like play money.
Murphy then made a sweeping proposal whereby all that money would instead be channeled to programs which are proven. It's not a cut in spending. Instead, it prioritizes how money is spent.
Murphy wanted to go further. But he will take this as a first start. When HIPPA reforms get passed, it will save even more lives and restore more families.
This bill is not as sweeping as it originally was, but it's still a huge reform and it will help us get a handle on the massive mental illness crisis.
"It’s critical that we make a front and center commitment to ratchet up the help we provide to individuals and families in crisis and to offer many more robust alternatives to the intolerable numbers of our community who live on the streets or in jails and prisons. "
Cathy Costello worked hard on this effort. She personally appealed to Jim Bridenstine and Congressman Steve Russell; who initially opposed the original bill.
Rather than spending more federal money, it redirects the money that has been going to 'experimental' and 'research' grants, and puts it into proven (evidence based) programs.
Murphy's final bill passed the House by a 422-2 vote. It was then added to the Cures Act, and passed the Senate by a 94-5 margin of passage.
Yes, it's still deficit spending. Yes, it's still outside the lines of the 10th amendment separation of powers. But it at least puts the current spending into stuff that works, rather than just giving the money to universities where they experiment on mentally ill people, in the name of 'research'.
A detailed list of the bill's provisions are listed, here.
Mental health facilities like this one in Fergus Falls, MN were seen as convenient places to put social outcasts deemed 'insane'. Two of my relatives were treated there. States rarely provide adequate resources for mental health, and federal law prohibits taking pictures of patients (HIPPAA); so I posted this old photo which predates HIPPAA.