All mental health is on a time line. It is either before or after the fact. It is either about helping people to develop the tools, the support, building capability and strength to deal with and resolve issues in their life that get in the way of them building the kind of life they want or about picking up the pieces after they crash and burn.
It is about prevention or crisis management. It is an answer to two questions:
1. Are we doing too little too late.
2. Is what we are doing making it better or worse. Is it making a crash more or less likely?
The Murphy Bill would tell us to put all attention and all energy into after the crash and burn. The biggest problem with this is that eventually all you have is people who crash and burn. You create the problems you claim you solve.
It is a little like taking all the stop signs, all the stop lights off our highways and then arguing that some people have a genetic predisposition to crash their cars.
Rep. Murphy is absolutely unique in his commitment to preaching about doing what works and then in the next breath saying psychiatric hospitalization is the best thing since sliced bread. It almost makes me believe anosognosia is real.
If there is evidence that psychiatric hospitalization is an evidence based practice it is deeply disguised by the testimony of thousands and thousands of people whose personal experience, whose personal evidence base is that in the end it prepares you much more for life as a psychiatric patient and little or nothing to live successfully in their own communities. It is not just that it does little to prevent further crisis. It makes them more likely by the trauma it exposes people to and the way it would have people define themselves.
The other Murphy fetish is what he calls AOT… assisted outpatient treatment. In his advocacy for that he accomplishes the greatest feat of logical slight of hand I have ever heard. Much of his standard prattle is to go on and on about the mental health system sucks. He then turns without missing a beat and tries to tell you that AOT (committal to the system that sucks) is a proven success. It is much more than having your cake and eating it too. He either lacks insight or shame. Maybe both.
The evidence is overwhelming . Much human distress is caused by injury in life. Only a psychiatrist or the only living psychologist in the Congress would argue otherwise. Healing is about what people do with each other and not a medical procedure done to people.
People, even people who find life hard and difficult, find ways to build a better life. Thousands and thousands of people are proof of the reality of recovery. They… No you…. are proof of the foolishness of building a system based on the worst possible outcomes instead of the greatest possible gains. You are the evidence base Murphy has tried so hard to disqualify.
Tell your representative not to drink the kool-aid. Tell them you want a system rich in community resources and programs. Tell them you want a system based on promoting human capability and growth. Tell them you want a system that says hope is real and that mental health issues are neither a terminal illness or a final verdict on the life anyone lives.
Tell them you want a system that believes in human beings rather than one that would label people with different realities as dangerous. Tell them the mental health system should be about helping those with problems and not policing them and teaching the rest of society they are to be feared and separated from “normal people.”
Tell them you want a system of before not after and Tim Murphy is not the answer you either support or deserve.