I hope it is okay to share a couple of small suggestions. I don’t know that any of them are particularly new but if they seem to make some sense to you I hope you will consider them.
1. Above all else defeat Murphy. If his bill becomes the Senate Bill then the efforts of so many people have been for nothing. The single biggest strength of the Senate bill is that it is not the Murphy Bill. It will in the end be a choice between Murphy and not-Murphy and the Senate bill is the only train leaving that station. I fear it is one of those situations where you cannot not choose. There are no “third party candidates” so to speak.
2. Giving Rep Murphy the leverage of a “successful” effort to reform the mental health system I am afraid will make it very difficult to oppose further efforts he might make. We do not need to make him the defacto mental health czar. There are unhappy times ahead if we do.
3. No legislator who wants to remain a legislator will ever come out in favor of something that leaves him open to being charged with being against mental health. It is a political non starter and will always be a political non starter. The strength of the Murphy guys is they have co-opted control of the narrative of what it means to be for mental health. If anything is to change this community must find a way to frame its message in such a way it cannot be easily dismissed as being against mental health or insensitive to people with mental health issues. My opinion is that we rarely get to second base with this and if we want real change to happen we have to find a way to hit a home run.
4. We need to find or make or develop legislative champions. Where is Dr. Torrey without Rep Murphy? This means establishing relationships, developing a language that has legislative leverage, and building coalitions to make it real. The vast majority of legislators are allergic to anything that puts them at any perceived risk. They want to sign onto things with a momentum towards success. That momentum has to be created. It will never just happen.
Like I said nothing particularly original or new : beat Murphy, develop a language, a narrative that supports and makes change more possible and develop relationships with people who can be champions and help carry the legislative load. At least in part I think it is at least part of a recipe for real changes.
I have been absent for a while and still not sure what if anything is the best role for me going forward. I apologize if I have over-stepped in any way. I hope these suggestions are at least a little bit helpful.