Mental health reform struggles to get attention
December 12th, 2013
03:05 PM ET
10 months 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. The Real Tom Paine

    -smith

    Normal people blame Adam Lanza(mentally ill) for Sandy Hook. Liberals blame gop, gun owners, gun manufacturers, nra, etc., but not Adam Lanza(mentally ill). Now, we have a common sense approach and they don`t like that either.smh
    **************
    I guess blaming a dead man is easier than actually trying to do something. its been 12 months since Newtown, and what have so-called " normal " people been doing? Doing what they do best, which is to blame, delay and ultimately do nothing about a social problem they suddenly "discovered" after a string of shootings. Don't get testy, righties, you've not been willing to do a damn thing to help the mentally ill until you receive an unpleasant reminder in the anniversary of the 20 kids Adam Lanza shot with the AR-15 his mother purchased for him. Its a pity that what it takes for " common sense" to kick in among the gun huggers: ordinarily they probably would be making fun of the mentally ill as part of their campaign to " not be politically correct". I guess it takes a massacre to make a rightie care about the shooter.

    December 12, 2013 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    For all the crap I give the GOPers/Teatrolls for their bigotry towards, well, almost everyone, there's one thing I will say that Dems (which I'm not) and GOPers/Teatrolls in government appear to be able to consistently agree on: the mentally ill are subhuman and deserve no help, they brought it on themselves and why can't they just cut it out.

    December 12, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  3. tom l

    Mallory,
    Are you 14 years old? You're like a child. I certainly hope you don't have children. If you do, do you instill the same values in them that you possess on this board and tell them to call people that disagree with them childish names? As the great Sniffit would say, grow up. You're a child

    December 12, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  4. Donna

    The Real Tom Paine
    -smith
    Normal people blame Adam Lanza(mentally ill) for Sandy Hook. Liberals blame gop, gun owners, gun manufacturers, nra, etc., but not Adam Lanza(mentally ill). Now, we have a common sense approach and they don`t like that either.smh
    **************
    I guess blaming a dead man is easier than actually trying to do something.
    --

    Yeah, how absolutely ridiculous to actually blame the very person that did it.

    And you just have to LOVE the nutty "we must do something" approach which the left translates into punishing millions of law abiding citizens that had absolutely nothing to do with the incident.

    Yes, let no tragedy or crisis be wasted when it can be used and exploited to further the agenda of the far left.

    December 12, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Malory Archer

    Donna

    Angry? Nice try sweetie. I asked two simple questions. So you DO support the government moving against mentally ill people before they have commiitted any sort of crime?

    BTW, you can be accosted by people that are not mentally ill. And all mentally ill people are not violent. Your arguements hold no water.

    So you would have doctors deciding who should be interned in mental hospitals, simply for not taking medicine, or for violating doctors orders. And just how would this be enforced? The newly formed Mental Health Police Dept.?

    Please do expand on your thoughts about control and incarceration of the mentally ill.

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

    I made myself clear with my post. Sorry 'bout your lack of reading comprehension skills. That being said, this is an article about the mentally ill. Attempting to deflect from the topic at hand doesn’t help your argument.

    December 12, 2013 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. Peter Dieleman

    Dear Richard Quest,

    Please read my thoughts below (unconnected with the above) on a New World Order (socio/economic).

    I wish to pass on just a fleeting thought, which seems difficult to deny.
    (by the way you’re doing, okay aren’t you ? – There’s always progress when you’ve acquired more insight ! ).

    The ‘passing thought’ relates to the economic well-being of people in the so-called ‘developed’ countries: more and more it’s becoming clear that the quest for growth of GDP (=gross domestic product)
    is indeed on the rise, but.......this only takes place at the expense of, not only the lower classes, but even the middle classes: they too are beginning to get poorer !

    When you predict the future, starting from this ‘fact’, we will only be facing social revolutions (wars within countries).
    I don’t think this just a ‘wild’ guess, it will – and here and there – it already is fermenting.

    I have no idea how this will pan out, but will we be completely powerless to reverse this trend ?
    The future is not so –socially – liveable, as we try to believe.

    Most certainly, it will be the culturally strongest societies, who will have to develop a solution.

    – and I am an optimist by nature !

    December 12, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. Malory Archer

    Sniffit

    For all the crap I give the GOPers/Teatrolls for their bigotry towards, well, almost everyone, there's one thing I will say that Dems (which I'm not) and GOPers/Teatrolls in government appear to be able to consistently agree on: the mentally ill are subhuman and deserve no help, they brought it on themselves and why can't they just cut it out.

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

    Hey Sniffit (the real one), some poseur has hijacked your handle!

    December 12, 2013 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. just saying

    Sniffit
    Dems (which I'm not)
    -–

    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.

    December 12, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. 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.

    December 12, 2013 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Malory Archer

    December 12, 2013 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |

    tom l

    Mallory,
    Are you 14 years old? You're like a child. I certainly hope you don't have children. If you do, do you instill the same values in them that you possess on this board and tell them to call people that disagree with them childish names? As the great Sniffit would say, grow up. You're a child

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

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

    December 12, 2013 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Thomas

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

    Sad

    December 12, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. simplyput

    I guess none of you have heard that the leading cause of death in the very near future will be mental illness. Even a diagnosis of depression will put you in that category, so keep your sunny side up! Be as transparently fake as you really are.

    December 12, 2013 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    -Donna

    The Real Tom Paine
    -smith
    Normal people blame Adam Lanza(mentally ill) for Sandy Hook. Liberals blame gop, gun owners, gun manufacturers, nra, etc., but not Adam Lanza(mentally ill). Now, we have a common sense approach and they don`t like that either.smh
    **************
    I guess blaming a dead man is easier than actually trying to do something.
    -

    Yeah, how absolutely ridiculous to actually blame the very person that did it.

    And you just have to LOVE the nutty "we must do something" approach which the left translates into punishing millions of law abiding citizens that had absolutely nothing to do with the incident.

    Yes, let no tragedy or crisis be wasted when it can be used and exploited to further the agenda of the far left.
    **************
    Yes, and a lot of chest-beating about mental health which will translate into nothing shows the agenda of the Right is to do....nothing. Funny how it always takes a series of shootings for the Right to focus on that for a photo-op or two, then it fades away into nothing. Do you actually believe in doing anything, or is everything about the debate to you? Btw, since Lanza was not there to pay for his crimes, its perfectly appropriate to ask how the parent of anti-social loner with an obcession with school shooting was ever allowed access to weapons that way beyond the need for self-defense. Interesting how you also skipped over the other parts of my post as well, but your pencehnt for selective comprehension and editing is well-established.

    December 12, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  14. Tampa Tim

    Good job, I am hoping they can provide free mental healthcare for us. It is pretty obvious that I need help.

    December 12, 2013 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  15. tom l

    Mallory,
    You're joking, right?

    December 12, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    "Hey Sniffit (the real one), some poseur has hijacked your handle!"

    Not this time. I'm pretty disgusted by the inaction of all involved on mental health issues.

    "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.

    December 12, 2013 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  17. 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.

    December 12, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Rudy NYC

    Donna wrote:

    And you just have to LOVE the nutty "we must do something" approach which the left translates into punishing millions of law abiding citizens that had absolutely nothing to do with the incident.
    -----------------------
    Do you mean those law abiding citizens that have opposed the very gun reforms that would have made the mother more accountable for her actions. What she did should have been criminal. As it stood then, and still stands today, none of her actions could be deemed as criminal. You could call them extremely reckless, but nothing was criminal.

    December 12, 2013 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  19. Malory Archer

    tom l

    Mallory,
    You're joking, right?

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

    No. Put up or shut up.

    December 12, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    -Malory Archer

    Donna

    Angry? Nice try sweetie. I asked two simple questions. So you DO support the government moving against mentally ill people before they have commiitted any sort of crime?

    BTW, you can be accosted by people that are not mentally ill. And all mentally ill people are not violent. Your arguements hold no water.

    So you would have doctors deciding who should be interned in mental hospitals, simply for not taking medicine, or for violating doctors orders. And just how would this be enforced? The newly formed Mental Health Police Dept.?

    Please do expand on your thoughts about control and incarceration of the mentally ill.

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

    I made myself clear with my post. Sorry 'bout your lack of reading comprehension skills. That being said, this is an article about the mentally ill. Attempting to deflect from the topic at hand doesn’t help your argument.
    *****************************
    @ Donna,

    Well, who says the Righties don't have a knack for fiction? You've missed your calling. I could also take your comments, spread them on a field, and I would have corn 40 feet tall before the end of the week.

    December 12, 2013 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  21. Silence DoGood

    @Donna "So you would have doctors deciding who should be interned in mental hospitals?"

    Sorry to interrupt you with reality but it is actually a law since decisions in the 1970's. Called "duty to warn", clinicians MUST inform police or someone when they think harm may be done top someone before it happens. Ignoring reality and making stuff up got Rush famous but I really would not recommend this.

    December 12, 2013 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  22. Silence DoGood

    @Rudy NYC
    Donna wrote: (blah blah)
    -------–
    Do you mean those law abiding citizens that have opposed the very gun reforms that would have made the mother more accountable for her actions. What she did should have been criminal.
    --------
    The mother is actually very inconvenient for gun-toters. She had a house full of guns and could protect herself right? How did that myth hold up to reality of a crazy guy? Laws may not stop all crazies but obviously lots-o-guns won't either.

    December 12, 2013 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Donna

    Rudy NYC
    Donna wrote:
    And you just have to LOVE the nutty "we must do something" approach which the left translates into punishing millions of law abiding citizens that had absolutely nothing to do with the incident.
    -------–
    Do you mean those law abiding citizens that have opposed the very gun reforms that would have made the mother more accountable for her actions. What she did should have been criminal. As it stood then, and still stands today, none of her actions could be deemed as criminal. You could call them extremely reckless, but nothing was criminal.
    --–

    The mother was held accountable, by her insane son. She paid dearly for her extremely poor judgement.

    And these added laws will prevent ZERO future incidents as the mentally insane don't understand they are breaking laws. And of course you have NO way of enforcing these new laws so that they prevent incidents.

    But it sure does give the illusion of action. And the added illsuion of safety.

    December 12, 2013 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. 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.

    December 12, 2013 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  25. 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.

    December 12, 2013 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
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