Fixing the mental health care system: What Congress can do
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Event Summary

More than 9 million Americans have a serious mental illness, more than 3 million do not have treatment, and between 20 and 50 percent of all US inmates have a mental illness. How can we attempt to combat these challenges? On Friday, AEI's Sally Satel hosted Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) to discuss flaws in current mental health policy and the changes he hopes to enact via his Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. Rep. Murphy identified key areas that require significant change, such as addressing shortage in inpatient treatment, looking to alternatives to institutionalization, and proactively providing quick and fair treatment to all mental health patients.

Former congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) emphasized that Americans must approach mental health as a treatable ailment akin to cancer or diabetes, rather than treat it as a separate and unequal plight. Kennedy echoed Rep. Murphy's emphasis on quick action and preventative measures, adding that proper funding is crucial. Dr. Fuller Torrey corroborated the treatment shortage, referring to an upcoming report from the Treatment Advocacy Center that elaborates on the significant numbers gap between mental health patients in prisons and jails versus those in hospitals. Finally, Dr. Jeffrey Lieberman drew on his insight into mental health care systems to encourage taking a public health approach to mental health care.
--Kelly Funderburk

Event Description

The federal government’s approach to mental health has been a chaotic patchwork of antiquated programs and ineffective policies across numerous agencies. Sadly, patients often fall through the cracks and land on the street or in the criminal justice system.

Join Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) for a panel discussion of his Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which seeks to direct resources at the patients and families most in need of psychiatric services. His proposed legislation is wide ranging, addressing bed shortages, the scarcity of proven treatment strategies, and the questionable priorities of America’s leading mental health care agencies.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

Agenda

9:45 AM
Registration

10:00 AM
Introduction:
Sally Satel, MD, AEI

10:10 AM
Presenter:
Tim Murphy, US House of Representatives (R-PA)

Moderator:
Sally Satel, MD, AEI

10:50 AM
Commentators:
Patrick J. Kennedy, Former Congressman (D-RI)
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD,
American Psychiatric Association
E. Fuller Torrey, MD,
Stanley Medical Research Institute

11:30 AM
Adjournment

Event Contact Information

For more information, please contact Kelly Funderburk at [email protected], 202.862.5920.

Media Contact Information

For media inquiries, please contact [email protected], 202.862.5829.

Speaker Biographies

Patrick J. Kennedy is the cofounder of One Mind for Research. He served 16 years in the US House of Representatives and was the author and lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which sought to provide access to mental health treatment to millions of Americans who were previously denied care. Kennedy has authored and cosponsored dozens of bills to increase the understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including the National Neurotechnology Initiative Act, the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act, the COMBAT PTSD Act, and the Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act. He is a winner of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology Distinguished Service Award, the Society for Neuroscience Public Service Award, the Autism Society of America Congressional Leadership Award, the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance Paul Wellstone Mental Health Award, and the Epilepsy Foundation Public Service Award. He is also founder of the congressional Down Syndrome Caucus and the 21st Century Health Care Caucus.

Jeffrey A. Lieberman, MD, is the Lawrence C. Kolb Professor and chairman of psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and is director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He also holds the Lieber Chair for Schizophrenia Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University and serves as psychiatrist-in-chief at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital. Previously he was vice chairman for research and scientific affairs in the Department of Psychiatry and director of the Neuroscience Center at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine. He has served as principal investigator of the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness and currently serves as principal investigator on the newly awarded National Institute of Mental Health contract Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenic Episode. His work focuses on the natural history and pathophysiology of schizophrenia and the pharmacology and clinical effectiveness of antipsychotic drugs. Dr. Lieberman has authored more than 450 articles and has edited or coedited 12 books. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is currently vice president of the Collegium Internationale Neuro-Psychopharmacologicum and chairs the Council on Research and Quality Care for the American Psychiatric Association.

Tim Murphy is currently serving his sixth term in Congress representing the 18th District of Pennsylvania. Rep. Murphy, a former psychologist with three decades of experience, advocates for meaningful reforms in the US health care system. A cochair of the Mental Health Caucus and founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus, he authored the Seniors Access to Mental Health Act, which ended the practice of charging higher copayments to seniors on Medicare seeking mental health care services. He also introduced and passed into law the Mental Health Security for America’s Families in Education Act and passed legislation into law to get college students suffering from depression or other mental illnesses the help they need before tragedy strikes. In addition to his work in Congress, Rep. Murphy serves as a lieutenant commander in the US Navy Reserve Medical Service Corps, working with wounded warriors with traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Sally Satel is a resident scholar at AEI and the staff psychiatrist at Partners in Drug Abuse and Rehabilitation Counseling. Dr. Satel was an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University from 1988 to 1993. From 1993 to 1994, she was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow with the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. She has written widely in academic journals on topics in psychiatry and medicine, and has published articles on cultural aspects of medicine and science in numerous magazines and journals. Her essays have appeared in the 2003 and 2008 editions of “Best American Science Writing.” She has testified before Congress on veterans’ mental health and disability, federal funding for mental health, and substance abuse. Dr. Satel is author of “Drug Treatment: The Case for Coercion” (AEI Press, 1999) and “PC, M.D.: How Political Correctness Is Corrupting Medicine” (Basic Books, 2001). She is the coauthor of “One Nation under Therapy” (St. Martin's Press, 2005) and “The Health Disparity Myth” (AEI Press, 2006), and editor of “When Altruism Isn’t Enough: The Case for Compensating Organ Donors” (AEI Press, 2009). She most recently coauthored “Brainwashed: The Seductive Appeal of Mindless Neuroscience” (Basic Books, 2013).

E. Fuller Torrey, MD, is a professor of psychiatry at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and a research psychiatrist specializing in schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. He is founder of the Treatment Advocacy Center and executive director of the Stanley Medical Research Institute (SMRI), which supports research on schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. From 1976 to 1985, Torrey was on the clinical staff of Saint Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, DC, where he specialized in the treatment of severe psychiatric disorders. From 1988 to 1992, he directed a study of identical twins with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder. His work at SMRI currently includes ongoing collaborative research on viruses and other infectious agents as a cause of psychiatric disorders. A frequent expert guest on radio and television, Torrey has written many guest opinions for national and regional newspapers and magazines and has authored 20 books and more than 200 lay and professional papers. He is also the recipient of two Commendation Medals from the US Public Health Service. .

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