WASHINGTON — The United States Senate unanimously passed a budget amendment proposed by Sen. Chris S. Murphy on Friday that aims to establish comprehensive reform of our nation’s mental health system.
Over the last several months, Murphy and Sen. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, have been working together to develop a major, bipartisan mental health legislation that they will introduce later this year.
The amendment seeks to establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to comprehensive mental health reform.
“Mental health care in America is in desperate need of an overhaul,” Murphy said.
“Children and adults struggling with mental illness may bounce from professional to professional without an accurate diagnosis for years, ultimately suffering in isolation, or be cast aside as a result of their mental health condition and abandoned by the system. Too often, individuals with mental illness who are capable of living healthy, productive lives instead end up homeless or in prison due to lack of adequate care. Thankfully, a growing chorus of both Democrats and Republicans is saying enough is enough.”
Murphy added, “At a time when Congress rarely reaches consensus, last night’s unanimous bipartisan support for broad reform of our ailing mental health system was both encouraging and exciting. I am eager to continue improving mental health care for Americans alongside Republicans, like Senator Bill Cassidy and Representative Tim Murphy, and to forge a bipartisan and bicameral bill on mental health care reform that can pass Congress and make it to the President’s desk. This is a problem we can solve and I won’t stop working until we do.”
Cassidy said, “More than 11 million people struggle with mental illness yet many don’t have access to proper treatment. This problem is worsened by a shortage of mental health professionals. This amendment will improve access to care and will help protect the health and safety of the individual, their families and society as a whole.”