Aug. 10, 2017

HARRISBURG—At the recent Mental Health America Summit of the National Conference of State Legislatures in Boston, Rep. Thomas Murt (R-Montgomery) was awarded the 2017 Regional Policy Council Legislative Award for his work on mental health and substance abuse treatment.

Murt chairs the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Subcommittee on Mental Health and is one of Pennsylvania's leading advocates for mental health issues. He also serves as a member of the Human Services Committee.

Mental Health America is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. They are committed to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services, early identification and intervention for those at risk with recovery as the goal.

“This is a very special honor from a very special group,” Murt said. “Mental Health America and I share many of the same priorities, and their support has been invaluable to my effort to improve standards so families can intervene when someone with a mental illness is too sick to seek treatment.

“My office has received requests from distraught constituents who are seeking help for someone with a serious mental illness who is too sick to seek treatment voluntarily,” Murt said. “Under existing law we must wait until the individual becomes a danger to themselves or others before we can help. This ‘clear-and-present-danger’ standard is among the most restrictive in the country.”

House Bill 1233 would create a new, strictly non-punitive process and a continuum of services for seriously mentally ill individuals who are unwilling or unable to voluntarily seek treatment.

Murt’s legislation would establish a new standard for court-ordered assisted outpatient treatment in the community, while leaving in place the clear-and-present-danger standard for involuntary hospitalization.

The bill has passed the House and is now before the Senate.

Representative Thomas P. Murt
152nd District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: David Foster
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