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Sen. Murphy Visits East Region in Support of Mental Health Reform

August 24, 2016

One of Connecticut’s most staunch supporters of mental health reform stopped in Willimantic recently to call for more money and more equity for the treatment and support of patients and behavioral health providers.

During a roundtable discussion at Generations Family Health Center, U.S. Sen. Christopher Murphy quoted HHC’s Behavioral Health Network president when decrying what he called discriminatory treatment for people with mental illness.

“Pat Rehmer always reminds me not to call it stigma, but to call it what it is, which is discrimination,” Murphy said.

The roundtable, one of dozens hosted by Murphy across the state over the past months, was attended by more than 50 behavioral health providers from the greater Willimantic area, including a number of Natchaug Hospital employees.

Murphy and Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy have proposed legislation that aims to reform mental health treatment by adding billions in new resources for behavioral health care, incentivizing coordinated care through regulatory and payment reform, and by attacking the lack of parity in mental health treatment.

A similar bill was passed by the House in early July, but lacks some of the funding and resources in the Senate bill, according to Murphy.

Murphy hopes for a vote on his legislation before the presidential election or early in the next Senate session. In the meantime, he is continuing to host the roundtables to collect more feedback on the bill from providers and consumers.

“My family has witnessed the depths and triumphs of the mental health system, but we were lucky enough to have the resources to access treatment that others cannot” Murphy said. “This has been on some level my life’s work… So this is not something I’m going to give up on.”