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Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney discusses mental health legislation

There is currently reform on the table that has been proposed by Representative Tim Murphy. It would change a fifty year trend of moving psychological treatment to peoples’ home and in their communities, rather than medical institutions. It is being introduced as a way to improve patient care and safety. Murphy, who is a psychologist, co-chairs the Mental Health Caucus and is a founding member of the GOP Doctors Caucus. A bill he introduced in June, which is gathering support in the U.S. House, aims to increase the number of psychiatric beds for inpatient treatment and boost funding for outpatient programs with which judges may order people to comply. Opponents of the bill, including national and local mental health organizations, argue any changes that force people with mental illness into treatment are less effective than those that encourage them to seek treatment themselves, usually outside institutions. Other organizations, including the American Psychiatric Association, support the bill and argue that hospitalization and outpatient treatment can benefit people with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder-conditions that are often seen in our jail system. A House subcommittee advanced Murphy’s bill, HR 2646, this month in an 18-12 vote. Speaker Paul Ryan said in a recent "60 Minutes" interview he is pushing the legislation as a way to address gun violence. Murphy started drafting the bill after a review of the nation’s mental health system performed after the 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, in which 26 people were killed. If you have a mental disability and have been charged with a crime, don’t get lost in the system like so many others who are locked up and forgotten about. Call Pittsburgh criminal defense attorney Gary Gerson today for a free consultation at 412-219-6875 and let an experienced attorney discuss these matters with you.

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