Letter to the Executive Director, Mental Health America

As related in our June newsletter, many letters were written upon learning that MHA suddenly added Congressman Murphy’s presentation to their annual national conference, happening now (June 3-5).  This is one submitted by us.

Mr. Gionfriddo,
          For those of us who have been optimistic enough to keep working hard at systems advocacy, often for many years, it is so very disheartening that MHA would give such significant conference space to Congressman Murphy.  For one thing, no matter what MHA might call it, it will end up being a plug for Murphy.  In fact, the way this is prioritized on your website might lead a viewer to assume that MHA has already endorsed Murphy’s proposal.
          This bill is so very controversial to many of us is because it focuses on promoting the very things that delay our society from truly engaging people in a way that helps them to heal.  The bill promotes stigma, discrimination, oppression, and a dependency on models of care that have not proven sufficiently effective.  The ideas embodied in it are outdated as compared with several other societies we know of.
          Historically, I have been so proud of the positions MHA has taken on many issues.  Your organization seemed to uphold recovery, hope, and self-determination more than certain other advocacy organizations.  But your decision to allow a Congressman to highlight his misguided, if well-intended, proposal at this conference sends a dismal message to ‘consumer’-advocates, many families.
          Please re-think your plan to feature Congressman Murphy.  This presentation could hasten us back into even darker days for persons needing services.
Laurie Coker
North Carolina
(I have written separately to detail that I represent a consumer organization)
Winston-Salem, NC

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