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A bill to reform the country's mental health care system was discussed in Danbury this week by Senator Chris Murphy.  He met with mental health providers and advocates at Family & Children's Aid, following up on a dozen round table discussions he held across the state to get input on what should be included in the reform bill.

 

Murphy wants to break down the barriers between the mental and physical health systems.  He wants people to be able to see a behavioral health specialist just like a specialist for a heart condition or a broken leg. 

 

He is also calling for a new position to be created with the Department of Health and Human Services to deal solely with mental health. 

 

He wants more clinicians, psychiatrists and psychologists.  He says there are people waiting weeks and months when they're in crisis, which doesn't make sense.  Murphy the mental health care system is very fragmented and he wants to increase inpatient and outpatient slots. 

 

Some of the bill also involves more funding being set aside for early intervention and for research. 

 

Murphy says there is no inherent connection between mental illness and violence, in fact those who are mentally ill are more likely to be victims than perpetrators.  But he says the conversation about reforms has to be careful not to re-stigmatize a group of people who have been fighting for a long time to have the stigma removed.

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