Letters to the Editor

Can’t judge a bill by its title

To the Editor:

Please contact your U.S. representatives and tell them to vote “no” for HR 3717.

The Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013 is shockingly regressive mental health legislation that would reverse some of the most significant advances of the past 30 years in mental health services and supports.

1. It costs more money than programs already in place.

2. If this bill becomes law, people with mental health conditions will lose legal services and will be imposed involuntary and facility based treatments.

3. The bill would amend HIPAA to erode privacy rights for people who have mental health conditions.

4. The bill provisions run counter to Olmstead v. LC 1999, which calls for people with disabilities to receive services in the most integrated setting.

5. The bill would slash innovative and promising programs and services developed by persons in mental health recovery and their families to help prevent and address crisis in our communities.

6. It attacks the federal mandated protection and advocacy programs, which is the primary provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the U.S.

Our slogan for Illinois is, “The expectation is recovery.”

If this bill becomes law, it will take all people with a mental health condition back to the dark ages of abuse and neglect.

Mary Messamore

Wonder Lake

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