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Feb 25, 2010

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Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill ("AIMI") members support H.R. 619
to resume Medicaid funding for inpatient psychiatric treatment, proposed by Rep. Eddie Johnson (D-TX), a former psychiatric nurse.  It was largely the removal of Medicaid funding that attributed to America's current deficit of mental hospitals and criminalizing mental illness.  However, since 1.25 million mentally ill people are now imprisoned, taxpayers did not save anything by closing inpatient facilities and reducing community care options, and the nation's indigent acute mental patients suffer cruel incarceration.  In fact, 60% of inmates enduring solitary confinement prison torture are mentally disabled.  One hundred percent of police officers I polled agree that prisons and jails are the wrong places for mental patients, but police have nowhere else to take sick people when psychiatric crises require police response.  Many people are demanding CHANGE.  America must come out of the Dark Ages when acute mental patients were locked away in dungeons as they are now.  Our 111th Congress has responded to our outcry against this injustice by proposing legislation to address criminalizing mental illness and other issues related to mental health. Please get informed so that you can help our representatives enact laws for a saner, safer, less expensive, and more humane approach to mental illness - treatment, not punishment for being sick.  Use the GovTrack link below to review our representatives' proposed solutions.  Join GovTrack and elect to track the bills you care about.  Note that most proposed bills never make it past first base in Washington.  When it comes to rescuing Americans with mental disabilities and creating safer communities, nothing will work unless YOU do.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) declared its support for passing H.R. 619 in January.  NAMI is America's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness and has over 200,000 members. Visit the NAMI online at this link: http://www.nami.org/  Numerous other mental health organizations support H.R. 619, including Treatment Advocacy Center (TAC).   TAC states, "By excluding Medicaid payment for inpatient psychiatric care, the federal government is in effect blocking treatment for people with severe mental illness." TAC's link: http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/ 

As of February 25, 2010, GovTrack link had one hundred seventy-seven (177) pending bills under the subject "mental health."  They include bills specific to veterans, Native Americans, women's health, teen and children's mental health, and more.  Please immediately contact your representatives and support Rep. Johnson's H.R. 619 to amend the Social Security Act XIX and restore Medicaid funding for inpatient psychiatric treatment for crisis situations and long-term care, and support other legislation on the list that you care about.  

     GovTrackUS - a civic project to track Congress
http://www.govtrack.us/congress/subjects.xpd?type=crs&term=Mental+health

Mental health bills

[At the link above] are the bills that are related to the "mental health" subject term. Click the Add Tracker button to the right to subscribe to this subject term. The following is a list of current pending legislation in Congress. These bills and resolutions have been proposed by Members of Congress but may not have had any action taken on them on their path to becoming law. In fact, the vast majority of proposed legislation never becomes law.

READ MORE ABOUT H.R. 619 AT THIS LINK:  http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-619

H.R. 619: To amend title XIX of the Social Security Act to remove the exclusion from medical assistance under the Medicaid Program of items and services for patients in an institution for mental diseases.

Many of our representatives are working to reduce America's prison cost, which is $50 billion annually (around $180 billion per annum with police services and court costs added).  They introduced bills that could increase safety for mentally ill citizens as well as police officers and the communities they service IF the bills are passed.  Like Rep. Eddie Johnson, who introduced H.R. 619, other members of the 111th Congress want to  restore mentally challenged people to a wholesome existence by treating rather than continuing to punish sick people for being sick.  Numerous talented artists like Elvis Presley, Sean LeVert, and Brittany Spears have/had mental health issues.  Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and some world leaders also have/had that health issue, just as one in five Americans do.  Let us work with our 111th Congress to remove the stigma associated with mental illness and decriminalize the common, treatable health condition.  We likely have scientific geniuses locked away in prison cells right now, along with many of our veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Not all acute mental patients who are behind bars can be treated and released back into society.  Some are too sick and their untreated mental illness led them to commit offenses that are too horrifying.  That is why Rep. Johnson's H.R. 619 is so important.  The justice system needs an alternative to prisons for acute mental patients.  Short-term inpatient treatment in SECURE HEALING FACILITIES is required for patients experiencing a mental health crisis to PREVENT atrocities such as suicides and murders, and long-term commitment must be made available for the criminally insane who are now sentenced to life in prison or execution like Andre Thomas.  Andre Thomas is on TEXAS DEATH ROW, where he eats his body parts because he is so mentally disturbed.  Browse online for AIMI's petition to save Andre Thomas, Sgt. Russel, and other mentally ill people from execution.  None of them would have committed violent crimes had they been treated appropriately and timely for their mental illness. 

Thank you for everything you do to reduce America's prison costs while giving ASSISTANCE TO THE INCARCERATED MENTALLY ILL.

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn. ~ Proverbs 29:2

Mary Neal
Assistance to the Incarcerated Mentally Ill ("AIMI")
http://www.Care2.com/c2c/group/AIMI
MaryLovesJustice, P.O. Box 153, Redan, GA  30074-0153


 

 
 
Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of Care2.com or its affiliates.

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Mary Neal
, 5, 2 children
Atlanta, GA, USA
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