Letters to the Editor response to Pittsburgh-area Congressman Tim Murphy proposed package of major mental-health reforms.

Scare treatment!  While U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy (R., Pa.) has good intentions, his legislation would be a costly step backward to the days when a mental-illness diagnosis was a life sentence ("Overhaul of mental health care long overdue," Jan. 26). The legislation would encourage the use of force and coercion, factors that can drive people away from treatment. Indeed, polling has shown that many individuals with mental illness avoid seeking help for fear of involuntary treatment. Murphy's legislation would exchange low-cost recovery-oriented services (including peer-run services), which are highly effective, for higher-cost yet ineffective interventions. Congressional leaders need to connect with the mental-health community so that they can better understand what works and what doesn't.

Michael Brody, Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health Association of Southeastern Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, mbrody@mhasp.org

POSTED by Philadelphia Media Network, The Philadelphia Inquirer: February 05, 2014