On December 21st, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy met with Legislative Officials, mental health advocates and medical professionals who helped craft his bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act and secure $1 billion in funding to address the opioid and heroin epidemic.
The Mental Health Reform Act was signed into law by President Obama the week before.
This unprecedented legislation will help reduce homelessness among individuals with a mental illness or substance use disorder. It does so through new grants for treatment and recovery for homeless individuals suffering from mental illness, increased funding for the Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) program and strengthens the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) strategies to end chronic homelessness.
Speaking at St. Vincent’s Behavioral Health System in Westport, a provider of mental health and substance abuse services and leader in homeless services, Murphy discussed how the new mental health law will provide relief to Connecticut residents struggling with addiction.
He was joined by a panel of legislators and St. Vincent’s leadership and staff including; State Senator Tony Hwang; State Representative Jonathan Steinberg; Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe; and St. Vincents’ Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy officer, Dianne Auger, and President and CEO, Vincent C. Caponi.
Murphy stressed the need for us as a society, and as a country, to be normalizing mental illness. He described his own family’s struggles and challenges with various mental health issues, but added, unlike lots of Americans today, “My family had the resources to get the help they needed.”
Murphy also spoke about the update to the mental health parody laws in Connecticut. He announced that, “for the first time ever, there is going to be a Secretary for Mental Health and Addiction.” Murphy proudly exclaimed, “This is the most comprehensive mental health reform that has passed in a generation.”
Photos courtesy CT Senate Republicans.