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MPAS Condemns Federal Legislation That Will Harm Individuals with Mental Illness

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Bill is short-sighted, harmful to people with mental illness and their families

Michigan Protection and Advocacy Service, Inc. (MPAS) today joined its fellow Protection and Advocacy (P&A) organizations across the country and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), in condemning H.R. 3717, recently introduced by Congressman Tim Murphy of Pennsylvania.  If passed, this bill would dismantle the Protection and Advocacy program for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) by cutting its current funding by nearly 85 percent.

“While we appreciate the efforts of Congressman Murphy in attempting to address many of the issues affecting people with mental illness, it is our unwavering belief that this legislation is far more detrimental than it is beneficial,” said Elmer L. Cerano, Executive Director of MPAS. “When you make a deliberate effort to so significantly defund a program which has been trusted for nearly 30 years with protecting the rights of people with mental illness, ensuring the availability of appropriate mental health supports and services, and assisting in procuring education, employment and housing, it is not only irresponsible, it is reckless.”

The legislation, which reduces funding for the PAIMI program by about 85 percent leaves individuals with mental illness no independent advocates nationwide to help address the myriad issues people with a mental illness face every day.  In 2012, with funding that was not adequate to serve all the people that requested services, the PAIMI program provided individual advocacy services to over 10,800 people, trainings to almost 135,000 people, information to over 35,000 individuals, investigated the circumstances in the deaths of over 2,700 individuals with mental illness, and provided systemic advocacy that positively impacted the lives of millions of people in the United States.

“Last year, here in Michigan, MPAS assisted 107 individuals in receiving the mental health services they needed,” said Michelle Mull, Director of Advocacy at MPAS. “We have provided information and referral to countless others and monitored mental health facilities to ensure that proper care is provided to people with mental illness. Funding cuts, as proposed by Rep. Murphy, would be devastating to so many people here in Michigan who rely on our services and advocacy.” 

MPAS is the organization designated by the governor to advocate and protect the legal rights of people with disabilities in Michigan. They join NDRN, the entire P&A Network, and the people they serve that are individuals with mental illness in calling on Congress to reject this short-sighted and harmful legislation.

December 18, 2013

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Posted on:
December 18, 2013