Mental health reform struggles to get attention
December 12th, 2013
03:05 PM ET
1 year ago

Mental health reform struggles to get attention

Washington (CNN) - Despite the impending anniversary of the Newtown school shootings and national pleas for more talk about mental health, serious reform efforts are struggling to get attention. Case in point: just a handful of reporters showed up to cover the announcement of a major mental health reform bill in the Capitol Thursday. (Read about the bill here.)

As three congressman stepped up to unveil their proposal, they looked out on just eight reporters and nearly 60 empty chairs.

"I guess if there was a shooting announced this morning, more (reporters) would have showed up," Rep. Tim Murphy, who is the legislation's lead sponsor, told CNN. He noted that other things, including the sign-language interpreter for Nelson Mandela's memorial, were getting heavy coverage.

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Photo by Lisa Desjardins/CNN

The Republican congressman from Pennsylvania is a clinical psychologist who launched a top-to-bottom audit of the mental health system in January. The result? His 135-page bill which would overhaul some aspects of mental health treatment. Several other bills on mental health have been introduced in Congress and similarly have seen few headlines. Murphy's office says his stands out because it is the only one to propose systemic changes in mental health treatment.

At the news conference, he was joined by lawmakers representing other key areas affecting mental health treatment: Republicans Leonard Lance of New Jersey, an attorney who specialized in municipal law, and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, a medical doctor.

Yet just two reporters asked the men any questions.

As the news conference ended, Murphy thanked journalists who attended. Why weren't more there? It was a busy day on the Hill, with votes in both the House and Senate. But Murphy thought the interest level had more to do with the stigmatized issue itself. "We want to pretend (the mental health problem) is not there, until there's a problem," he concluded.


Filed under: Congress • House
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Ol' Yeller

    @Rudy
    "I cannot think of anything that I have ever seen Republicans do that could be described as an act of benevolence or kindness."

    I don't know....
    The billions and billions in tax cuts to the rich was pretty kind to the the wealthy.
    The bailouts of the banks was pretty kind to the the wealthy.
    Their defending the corporate loopholes was pretty kind to the the wealthy.
    The cuts to programs to continue the tax cuts to the rich was pretty kind to the the wealthy.
    I think I'm beginning to see a pattern here....

    December 12, 2013 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. emmi

    Mental Illiness is real, and scary. Yes, we need to do more in helping the ill.

    December 12, 2013 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Malory Archer

    Ol' Yeller
    @Malory Archer
    "Uh tom, care to provide some context for your ad homenim attack? Please point out my so-called "name calling"."

    If you would just post some insane right wing drivel, you can call anybody (as long as they are on the left or in the middle) on here, any name you please and tom I will not say boo about it.
    You crime wasn't name calling- it was progressive posting.
    A crime punishable by name calling (child) by tom I.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++

    LOL! I wonder if he's familiar with the terms "projection" and "hypocrite".

    December 12, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Me

    Rudy NYC

    What the Republicans are offering isn't mental health reform. It's unfortunate that more reporters didn't show up to call them out on their charade. The Republicans have just cut hundreds of millions out of mental health budgets at both the federal and state levels. They're restoring a drop back into the near empty bucket.

    I cannot think of anything that I have ever seen Republicans do that could be described as an act of benevolence or kindness. Can you? Even that children's cancer bill they had yesterday was a scam, because they've already cut hundreds of millions from cancer research in the past year alone.
    _____________________________
    It does not matter what the GOP does, you will still call them worthless, they could cure cancer and you would say it really isn't a cure it is a ploy blah blah blah. Your posts mean nothing anymore you are way to partisan and a very left leaning liberal, too bad you don't see it cause I think the only one you are trying to convience half the time is yourself when you try and say your are independent! This is a true effort to try and fix things and all the liberals on here are simply haters and always will be no matter what!

    December 12, 2013 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Malory Archer
    Look Teatards... I've waited all my life for mental healthcare coverage. I need it bad and am sorry if all of you have to pay for it. I'll try not to be such a leech in the future.

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Hello poseur. BTW tom, I've NEVER used the term "Teatard" so it kinda sounds like you're projecting

    December 12, 2013 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. REGINALDB6

    America you have Regan top blame for our treatment or better yet our lack of treatment of the mental ill.

    December 12, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  7. Malory Archer

    Isn't it odd that Donna and other usual suspects were all for funding for mental health reform until it was pointed out by a few informed "libruls" that their god raygun was the one who cut funding for mental health? What's up with that?

    December 12, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    just asking said to Sniffit:
    "yes, we know you are a communist through and through. probably a member of the new black panthers if i had to venture a guess."
    Sniffit responded with:
    "Riiiiight, because they're oh so in the habit of making members of Irish guys who are so white they could blind you by mooning".
    -------------------------------------------------
    Bwahahahahahahahaha!choke!gasp!breathe!hahahahahahahaha!OhGod!!
    Didn't see that one coming did you just sprayin?!
    ROFLMAO!!

    December 12, 2013 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "but you do not deny that you are a communist right? that seemed to be ignored in your response."

    Boy are you infantile. No, I am not a "communist." I thought it went without saying, but I suppose I should have remembered I was talking to a child. Problem is, you clearly don't know what communism is (or socialism for that matter), so it's tough to tell whether I should be saying "no, I'm not a communist/socialist" because I'm clearly not, or whether I have to respond within the fantasyland context of your idiosyncratic, incorrect, completely misinformed wrongheaded definitions of communism/socialism and say "yes, I suppose I am if we're stuck using your idiot mischaracterizations of those things."

    December 12, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    -just saying

    Sniffit
    "yes, we know you are a communist through and through. probably a member of the new black panthers if i had to venture a guess."
    -
    Riiiiight, because they're oh so in the habit of making members of Irish guys who are so white they could blind you by mooning.
    -

    but you do not deny that you are a communist right? that seemed to be ignored in your response.
    ************************************
    Skippy, you can only respond to one idiotic, unfounded point at a time, which explains your obvious, chronic, and ongoing mental instability. Still the life of the Nazi party?

    December 12, 2013 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Government Waste Rules

    A Republican is sponsoring this bill? CNN get your facts straight please. Per your constant negative coverage of the GOP we all know they are nothing but corrupt murderers and dog rapists who steal toys from children so this bill can't have been sponsored by a Republican.

    December 12, 2013 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Rick McDaniel

    The WH proposes 100 million for that?????

    A drop in the bucket for what is really needed, to stop mentally ill violence in America. When you see that, you realize immediately, that the WH is NOT serious about reducing mentally ill violence in America, at all. Their proposal is nothing but a sham.

    December 12, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. smith

    @real tom-What you fail to understand is there is no real answer. People have been killing people since the begining and no amount of laws or bright ideas will stop it. A world of no violence is simply a dream. Also, I find it disturbing that liberals get all upset about gun violence, but could care less if somebody is killed violently with a object or than a gun.

    December 12, 2013 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. Me

    Ol' Yeller

    @Rudy
    "I cannot think of anything that I have ever seen Republicans do that could be described as an act of benevolence or kindness."

    I don't know....
    The billions and billions in tax cuts to the rich was pretty kind to the the wealthy.
    ____________________
    You do realize that those tax cuts benefited the POOR, MIDDLE CLASS, and RICH, in other words, IT BENEFITED EVERYONE!!!!

    December 12, 2013 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
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