A Holiday Gift From the Senate
Late last week, the U.S. Senate passed a bill (S. 993) reauthorizing and expanding the Mentally Ill Offender and Treatment Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA).
S. 993 expands the use of MIOTCRA funds to include the following:
- Veterans treatment courts;
- Training for law enforcement and correctional officers on how to respond to individuals experiencing psychiatric crises;
- Mental Health and substance abuse treatment and services for individuals who are incarcerated;
- Alternatives to solitary confinement;
- Mental health and substance use services for individuals reentering communities following incarceration to reduce recidivism; and
- Enhanced data collection and measurement of outcomes.
S. 993 also expands the definition of who may be served by this program to include individuals charged or convicted of felonies, with the exception of individuals charged or convicted of sex offenses, murder, or assault with intent to commit murder. Previously, MIOTCRA funds were restricted to “non-violent” offenders.
Sponsored by Senator Al Franken (D. MN), S. 993 enjoyed bipartisan support, with co-sponsors including Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R. Iowa) and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy (D. Vermont).
A companion bill to S. 933, H.R. 1854, is pending in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Please write to your U.S. Senator and thank him or her for passing S. 993.
- We need the House to pass the companion bill (H.R. 1854) to S. 933. Please write to your U.S. Representative to urge him or her to pass H.R. 1854.
Thank you for your advocacy!
NAMI Carroll County Hosts ‘Running From Crazy’ Screening
The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Carroll County Chapter will hosted a free screening of the film “Running from Crazy” at the Carroll Arts Center. The movie, directed by Barbara Kopple, known for her films “Harlan County USA” and “American Dream,” follows actress Mariel Hemingway, of “Manhattan” and “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace,” as she looks through her family’s history, one that includes suicide and mental illness. Hemingway’s great grandfather, famed writer Ernest Hemingway, took his own life, something the film delves into.
The film features archival footage of the entire Hemingway family.
Following the film, the chapter hosted a discussion, as well as a question and answer session, the audience, the Carroll County Health Department and members of the Carroll County Crisis Intervention Team. Carol Carr-Meinecke, president of the Carroll County chapter, said the event came about as a way to spark conversations about mental health that don’t often come up on a daily basis.
“We wanted to help people talk about mental illness and start the dialogue that would help people understand what services are available,” Carr-Meinecke said. “I’ve found that a lot of people don’t know that we have a Carroll County NAMI.”
NAMI’S Support for the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act
As many of you may know, NAMI has taken a position on the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (HR 2646). NAMI reviewed the legislation, scrutinized each provision and has submitted a letter of support to Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX) indicating their appreciation for their leadership and their commitment to work to pass comprehensive mental health legislation.
NAMI Applauds Supreme Court Decision to Uphold ACA
Access to timely and effective treatment and support for individuals with a mental illness is a crucial element in leading a full and productive life, paying taxes and contributing to society. Yet, individuals with mental illness have historically found private health insurance to be costly, hard to get, hard to keep and limited in its mental health benefits. With the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the establishment of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, Maryland Health Connection, 460,000 Marylanders have acquired insurance since 2013, without limitations such as excluding coverage for previously existing conditions.