PT: Mental Health Groups Look For New Voice In Congress After Murphy Resignation

Mental Health Groups Look For New Voice In Congress After Murphy Resignation
By Brianna Ehley Politico October 11, 2017

— Mental health advocates say Rep. Tim Murphy's abrupt resignation last week has left them without their loudest voice on Capitol Hill, and many are worried they may not find a Republican lawmaker who will advocate for mental health reform like Murphy had done, POLITICO's Brianna Ehley reports.

Mental health advocates made clear to Brianna they were sickened by Murphy's behavior and the scandal that ultimately doomed his career in Congress. Still, since he had been such a close ally to the mental health community, which rarely sees the spotlight (or the dollars) on Capitol Hill, advocates fear his departure from Congress could slow momentum on their issue.

"It will be a great loss. There's no question about that. He has done so much in the House to keep this issue front and center," said Paul Gionfriddo, president of Mental Health America.

... Murphy, a psychologist, is best known for authoring mental health reform legislation that was enacted last year as part of the 21st Century Cures legislation. That law was recently touted by House Speaker Paul Ryan in the wake of the Las Vegas mass-shooting as a way Republicans have responded to gun violence. Murphy had characterized that legislation a start and proclaimed there was more work to be done.

... Mental health advocates worry it may be some time before Congress takes up further reforms and say they're scouting for a new voice.

"We know many members of Congress that care about these issues. We'll be looking for someone to step up and take it on," Chuck Ingoglia, the senior vice president of public policy for the National Council for Behavioral Health.

... Murphy resigned last week after news broke that he allegedly encouraged a woman whom he was having an affair with to get an abortion. The anti-abortion lawmaker is also accused by multiple former staff members of mistreatment and verbal abuse.