Advocacy E-News December 18, 2015
December 18, 2015
NAMI APPLAUDS AGREEMENT ON THE 2016 BUDGET BILL
NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti today praised the House and Senate for their work in reaching agreement on the federal budget bill for 2016.
“This bill clearly demonstrates recognition by the Committee that wise investments in mental health services and research benefit people with mental illness, families, and the nation as a whole,” Giliberti stated
The budget bill includes a number of important provisions including:
• An increase of $50 million for the State Mental Health Block Grant program.
• An increase of $85.4 million in funding for biomedical and services research at NIMH.
• An increase of $1.5 million for Criminal Justice/Mental Health Collaboration grants
• The bill also provides $15 million for a new Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) pilot program.
DON’T BLAME MENTAL ILLNESS FOR GUN VIOLENCE
Those who oppose expanded gun-control legislation frequently argue that instead of limiting access to guns, the country should focus on mental health problems. But mass shootings represent a small percentage of all gun violence, and mental illness is not a factor in most violent acts. Over all, less than 5 percent of gun homicides were committed by people with diagnoses of mental illness, according to a public health study published this year.
SINGLETON INTRODUCES BILL TO TRAIN POLICE ON MENTAL ILLNESSES
Assemblyman Troy Singleton has introduced legislation to make instruction on proper interaction with individuals who have a mental illness part of the training curriculum for law enforcement officers. The bill (A-4911) would require the Department of Law and Public Safety, in collaboration with the Department to Human Services, to adopt or endorse a training curriculum for officers that includes instruction on police interactions with people who have a mental illness, substance abuse disorder or both.
In response to another issue addressed in the report, the bill would amend current law to establish additional clinical criteria for involuntary commitment to outpatient treatment.
U.S. SENATE PASSES COMPREHENSIVE JUSTICE AND MENTAL HEALTH ACT
In a unanimous vote on December 11, the U.S. Senate approved the Comprehensive Justice and Mental Health Act of 2015 (S. 993). This bipartisan legislation, introduced by U.S. Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and John Cornyn (R-TX) aims to improve responses to people with mental illnesses in the criminal justice system by supporting and enhancing law enforcement training, mental health and veterans treatment courts, resources for corrections systems, and other collaborative approaches. The bill, which builds upon the success of the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act, now moves to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
NOTED MENTAL HEALTH HISTORIAN GERALD N. GROB DIES AT 84
Gerald N. Grob, Professor of the History of Medicine (Emeritus) at Rutgers University and its Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and Aging Research, was well known for his books on the history of treatment of the mentally ill. Between 1973 and 1991, Grob published a definitive history of mental health treatment and policy in America from 1875 to approximately 1990, “Mental Institutions in America: Social Policy to 1875,” “Mental Illness and American Society, 1875-1940” and “From Asylum to Community: Mental Health Policy in Modern America.” “The Mad Among Us” was a more accessible review of this history.