Rep. Murphy Proposes Mental Health Reforms

By: Andrew Limberg

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – Earlier this year, a man who was allegedly hallucinating and paranoid killed his 76-year-old grandmother in Gibsonia when he said the “Archangel Michael” made him do it.

The family told KDKA’s John Shumway when it happened, they wanted to see laws change because families need protection against those who they feel are violent, but have yet to act out.

Congressman Tim Murphy is now unveiling a bill that will help families dealing with a serious mental health issues. He joined KDKA’s Larry Richert and John Shumway to discuss the details of the Helping Families in Mental Crisis Act.

Rep. Murphy says the story of the incident in Gibsonia is just one example of thousands of stories.

“There are 38,000 suicides every year, 750,000 attempted suicides. The number of murders by people that are mentally ill, maybe 1,000 or so,” Rep. Murphy said.

He stresses that a majority of people that suffer from mental illness are not violent.

“However, when someone has signs of schizophrenia, with violent delusions and paranoia, that risk increases many many times for acting out violently particularly if they’re not in treatment,” Rep. Murphy said.

He said the risk goes down if treatment is given.

Murphy says his bill, “is aimed at really giving our mental health system the biggest reforms since John Kennedy was president.”

Murphy says the bill calls for more hospital beds for psychiatric patents.

“We need outpatient treatment options for people,” Rep. Murphy said.

He is also calling for more psychologists and psychiatrists that can help, along with mental health courts.

The proposed legislation comes after a year-long investigation by talking to parents of mental health victims as well as mental health experts.

Listen to the KDKA Morning News with Larry Richert and John Shumway every weekday from 5 to 9 a.m. on NewsRadio 1020 KDKA.

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