A Dissertation About Mental Health

Dana Loesch asksWhy we can’t ever have any discussions about mental health in this country

To which More Son of Spengler answers:

This is something I might be able to shed a little light on. Buckle up, kids, for a brief thread

In the year after the Sandy Hook shooting, Rep. Tim Murphy did a careful study of the issues. He met with representatives of family groups and mental health professionals. The result was HR4717, a thoughtful and balanced piece of legislation

Democrats then controlled the house. Despite starting with numerous Dem cosponsors, the legislation failed. Dem leadership scuttled the bill because they thought it would take the air out of their anti-gun narrative

In November, the GOP took the House. Rep. Murphy reintroduced the bill, this time as HR2646. It included some changes in response to criticism – and in a bid to satisfy an increasingly vocal federal mental health bureaucracy

With GOP control of both houses, you’d expect there would finally be some progress. But you’d be wrong.

The mental health bureaucracy did not like the idea of dollars being diverted from broad-based programs targeting everyday people’s depression & anxiety to concentrated and intensive programs focused on treating serious mental illness (eg schizophrenia)

The mental health bureaucracy also feared a focus on serious mental illness would “stigmatize” the ill. They turned to Democrats for help.

(I’m sure there was some mutual ideological affinity too between liberal mental health professionals and the party of government workers).

When the Democrats signaled their opposition, Fred Upton (the CA Republican who chaired the relevant committee) refused to advance a “controversial” bill. Of course the only controversy was that Dems didn’t want to see any change.

Paul Ryan refused to go to bat for the legislation.

So despite having majorities in both chambers, the GOP killed the bill

Honestly a part of me is sympathetic to Rep Murphy for subsequently taking up with a mistress and ruining his career. I mean, the whole episode shows there’s no reward for doing good & working hard for the people. You might as well just give in & party like all the other guys…

This is an issue I spent time calling legislators about. But even their staffs were clueless. I’d ask where their boss stood on the bill and at best would get mealy mouthed “we have some concerns”. Most often they had no clue

This was the best shot we had to deal with the problem. Now who will take it up? Even if anyone were half as capable as Rep Murphy, no one wants to touch a failure

And we are in a more partisan atmosphere. And Dems control the House

It will be another generation, at least, before any progress will be possible

(FWIW, I saw the GOP failure on this issue as foreshadowing their inability to repeal Obamacare. Complete and utter fecklessness can’t be contained.)

So that is why I don’t bother talking about mental illness anymore

And why I have no confidence that our federal government can make progress on any serious issue


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