Please note: Due to last minute legislative work, the Issue Statement Subcommittee meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Jan. 22nd, has been reschedule. The committee will now meet next Tuesday, Jan. 25th from 11 AM - 12:30 PM. Thank you for your understanding as we work to show a presence at the legislature tomorrow and Monday!
Governor Paul R. LePage has announced he will hold his next town hall on Wednesday, August 17 in Sanford, where he will deliver remarks about moving Maine forward and answer questions from residents.
The cafeteria at Sanford High School, 52 Sanford High School Blvd., is the location for the town hall from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
The town hall meeting will focus on the Governor’s vision for Maine, including further reducing the income tax; reforming welfare by strengthening the State’s safety net for the most vulnerable; cutting energy costs; and addressing Maine’s high student debt burden.
The Governor will also highlight five of the referendum questions featured on the November ballot.
Please contact your U.S. Senators by this Friday, September 2, and urge them to support S. 2680 (the Mental Health Reform Act of 2016) without amendments or changes. H.R. 2646 (the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2016) recently passed the House of Representatives nearly unanimously. The Senate bill is better than the House bill and it is important that it pass "as is," according to the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery (NCMHR). NCMHR notes that, among its provisions-and unlike H.R. 2646-S. 2680 does not expand forced treatment; includes representation of people with lived experience; does not mention "anosognosia"; incorporates mental health recovery language throughout the bill; and calls for better education about the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) rather than providing a path to relaxing HIPAA confidentiality protections, as does H.R. 2646. Numerous other disability rights advocacy organizations support S. 2680. These include the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (click here), the National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (click here), and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (click here). For more about what is wrong with mandated outpatient treatment (also known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment or Involuntary Outpatient Commitment), see "Forced Mental Health Treatment Will Not Prevent Violent Tragedies," by Phyllis Solomon, Ph.D., of the University of Pennsylvania (click here). For information about how to contact your Senators, click here. (For the most recent text of S. 2680 that is available online, click here and then scroll down past Sec. 608 of the version that is largely crossed out until you get to the clean text.)
This information is provided by: The National Mental Health Consumer's Self-Help Clearinghouse
While this is short notice, we are just getting some understanding in the last 24 hours about what this bill is about and what its impact could potentially be. We are hoping that those in the Consumer Community that can, will come and speak about their thoughts about how this bill feels to those of us with mental health challenges.
To summarize: LD 1526 adds language to an existing bill regarding Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Victims that allows for law enforcement to contact a Domestic Violence and/or Sexual Assault Advocacy agency to reach out to the victim to offer support and resources for help. The law enforcement community and NAMI crafted this bill thinking they could just add language to include a Mental Health Advocate and the same rules would apply. Law enforcement would contact the Mental Health advocate and ask them to call the person they consider to be in need of help regardless if said person asked or wants the follow up. Now think of how this would look for a mental health consumer: law enforcement can be called for any reason and think that someone might have a mental health need. They then can give some information (what and how much is still unknown) to a mental health advocacy agency to call you whether or not you have asked for or want it.
Here are the concerns we have that we are going to ask about:
·DV/SA are legal issues and MH is a protected health issue. How does this relate to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?
·How does a non-trained mental health person i.e. law enforcement decide there is a mental health issue?
·What information is shared, who has access and how is it managed?
·There are not MH advocate organizations that have the capacity or would want to do this work. (NAMI, DRM)
·Why doesn’t law enforcement personnel offer resources to the person and allow them to choose to access help if they need or want it?
·When does genuine concern trump civil rights?
Please contact the CCSM office at 1-877-207-5073 if you want more information or need assistance in any way. You can also just be at the hearing to lend support and show the committee that our community is listening and concerned.