As a lifelong Democrat, it pains me to say the best advocate for people with serious mental illness appears to be Representative Tim Murphy, the Republican Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee.
For most leaders, once there is a “Mentally Ill Killer on Rampage” (sic) headline, political correctness — rather than finding solutions — becomes the top priority. We’re subjected to comfortable platitudes like ‘most people with mental illness are not violent’ or ‘are more likely to be victims than perpetrators.’ Our well-intentioned desire to avoid stigmatizing people with mental illness who do not become violent, causes us to avoid helping persons with mental illness who do become violent. Congressman Murphy called this, ‘keeping the blinders on.’
On Face The Nation, CSPAN and in hearings on March 5, Congressman Murphy, a board certified psychologist demonstrated he’s not going down that road. He indicated his intent to have a nationwide forum and hearings on the very narrow issue of ‘serious mental illness and violence’. The elephant in the room. And to their credit, the Democrats seemed to join him in taking the blinders off.
–DJ Jaffe, Executive Director of Mental Illness Policy Org., dedicated to providing science based information on serious mental illness to policymakers and public.