Friday, May 9, 2014

In Memory of Amy Bruce - we must continue to fight for reform

 (1958 - 2006)

"My Son Has Killed My Wife"

Late one afternoon in June 2006, Joe Bruce of Caratunk, Maine, came home from work to find his wife dead. He called 911 and told the dispatcher that his 24-year-old schizophrenic son, William, had killed her, that he couldn't find the son, and that he was arming himself for self-defense. 

 On June 20, two months after his son's release, Joe Bruce returned home from his office to find his wife'sbattered, bloodied body. William was gone.

According to the medical examiner's report, Amy died of multiple blunt-force trauma and chop injuries to her head. She was 47 years old.

Police arrested William Bruce at his grandparents' house and later charged him with killing his mother. He told a psychologist that the Pope told him to kill his mother because she was involved with al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein. Joe Bruce became William's legal guardian and gained access to his medical records. When police returned Amy Bruce's purse to Joe, he found an unsent letter she had written to her eldest son. It read...
 "I've always had this horrible feeling that I've let you down in some way," she wrote. "The only wish I have is that someday we can look each other straight in the eyes and say I'm sorry and I love you more than life itself." She added: "I will not give up on you ever."

About Amy and Joe’s son:
William said the first time he came to Riverview, he refused to believe he was mentally ill and approached the PAIMI advocates because he wanted out. 
The PAIMI program, operated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration with a 2008 budget of $34.8 million a year, funds protection-and-advocacy agencies in each state. Typically nonprofits, these groups sometimes receive supplemental funding from states. 
"They helped me immensely with getting out of the hospital, so I was very happy," he said. He later added,"The advocates didn't protect me from myself, unfortunately."

These days, William is taking criminal-justice classes online through Colorado Technical University. He points proudly to his 3.94 grade-point average and says he hopes to attend law school to learn more about mental-health laws. William and his father talk on the phone almost every day. "He stood by me the whole time despite the horrible tragedy...despite what I did," William said. "I am the man I am today because of my dad."

While William believes patients deserve some protection, he said he understands his father's fight to strengthen commitment and treatment laws. 

read more here:

WSJ hits home run regarding the Barber/Pelosi 'mental wellness' bill!

What a well written article, BRAVO TO WSJ! Thanks for sharing the truth with the world – 
from one of thousands of families who lives in constant crisis and needs HR 3717!! 
The Barber bill will not help families like mine and is a waste of press time!

Sincerely, GG Burns ~ A mother who believes in treatment before tragedy!

Please join me in thanking the WSJ at:

Read entire article here:

U.S. Congressman for the 18th District of Pennsylvania

For Immediate Release: Friday, May 9, 2014
Contact: Brad Grantz202.225.2301

* * * In Case You Missed It * * *
Nancy Pelosi's Partisan Play on Mental Health
Allowing Democrats to vote for a Republican bill would in her world be to surrender on gun control.
By Kimberley A. Strassel
May 8, 2014 6:56 p.m. ET
Were this a case study in a mental-health journal, it might be characterized as Midterm Derangement Syndrome. As there is no such category, call it what it is: the basest form of Washington politics.
Arizona Rep. Ron Barber, a former aide to Gabby Giffords, led four House Democrats on Tuesday in unveiling The Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act. Mr. Barber insisted his bill is a "comprehensive approach to long-ignored mental health issues" and a completely "nonpartisan" exercise. Which he would say, since this is in reality a Nancy Pelosi special: a raw partisan exercise in killing mental-health reform, shoring up midterm election prospects and protecting Democratic constituencies—all at the expense of the most seriously ill.
The timing, method and content of the Barber bill say it all. Ever since the Sandy Hook shooting, Pennsylvania Republican Rep. Tim Murphy, a psychologist, has pushed a mental-health reform designed to find and treat the Jared Loughners before they strike. Mr. Murphy's subcommittee spent a year investigating every failed corner of the federal mental-health system and months more working with professionals, advocacy groups and families.
What has most characterized the Murphy effort has been his bipartisanship. His bill doesn't shy away from necessary reforms: fixing broken privacy laws, revamping commitment standards, increasing assisted outpatient treatment, overhauling that broken federal agency, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Samhsa). Yet rather than point fingers for past failures, Mr. Murphy has presented the bill as an opportunity for all of Congress to finally tackle a serious national problem. His office has engaged in extensive outreach, and since his bill's December debut has collected 77 co-sponsors—a third of them Democrats.
Mr. Murphy also had solicited Mr. Barber's thoughts and was even working recently with his committee counterpart, Colorado's Diana DeGette, in the expectation that she would come on board. All that ended when Ms. Pelosi decided that Republicans couldn't be allowed any victory that might present them as bipartisan, compassionate and leaders on health issues. Mr. Barber and Ms. DeGette received new marching orders.
While Mr. Barber presented the bill (Ms. DeGette is a co-sponsor), the Hill reported late last week that Ms. Pelosi and Rep. Henry Waxman (D., Calif.) were "deeply involved in crafting" it. A lobbyist told the paper that "Pelosi and Waxman hope this legislation will blow up any kind of continuing dialogue with Murphy."
That serves another Pelosi priority: keeping alive the dream of gun control. Liberals have been unhappy that Mr. Murphy has so successfully focused attention on mental illness, since it messes with their story line that the only issue is guns. In this warped universe, a bipartisan vote for a Murphy bill —an acknowledgment that mental illness plays a primary role in shooting tragedies—is a surrender on gun control, and potentially an excuse for some Democrats to drop that politically dangerous issue.
The Barber bill is no threat to these liberals, since it won't be heard, and is simply another Democratic spending blowout. Pelosi-Barber strips out every consequential reform from the Murphy bill—outpatient treatment, privacy rules, commitment standards, Samhsa reforms—and settles for throwing yet more federal dollars at "mental health awareness."
As such, Pelosi-Barber also protects Democratic lobbies that are currently feeding from the federal trough and want to continue doing so. That includes federally funded lawyers who fight to keep the seriously mental ill out of treatment, as well as to a huge array of Samhsa-funded anti-psychiatry groups, such as the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery, that oppose treatment for those most sick. Pete Earley, an author and mental-health reform advocate, noted on his well-read blog this week that "all I heard yesterday in the halls of Congress were laments by different interest groups scrambling to protect SAMHSA and their favorite programs from being cut."
And then there's Mr. Barber, one of the most vulnerable House Democrats in the country. He was injured in the Loughner shooting and then won a special election to finish Ms. Giffords's term. Yet he was barely re-elected in November 2012, is in a GOP-leaning district, under fire for ObamaCare, a target of outside conservative groups, and is facing a rematch with his (now better known) 2012 opponent, Martha McSally. Ms. Pelosi gets to undercut Republicans, and Mr. Barber gets to put his name at the top of a mental-health "reform" that he hopes will help him in his particular district this fall.
The risk to Democrats is that this is all so blindingly obvious. Mr. Murphy's outreach and educational efforts have helped mobilize reform advocates, and they know what is going on. Democrats are already getting pushback from mental-health grass-roots organizations across the country and from family and support groups. Even the press is describing the bill as a political stunt.
Yet the damage is done. Up to now, the Murphy bill remained a rare cause for bipartisan optimism. Ms. Pelosi has now issued a rival bill that all but forbids Democrats from working with Republicans on one of most pressing issues of the day. When the next tragedy comes, remember this week.
Send your feedback to

Feedback mailed from Kentucky:
Sent: Friday, May 9, 2014 2:13 PM
Subject: Mental Illness Article

Dear Kim,

Thank you so much for the article you wrote on addressing the issues of the different federal bills introduced to help the mentally ill.  It is outrageous that politicans want their parties to win no matter the cost to Americans.  As a parent of an adult young man living with schizophrenia, I know personally that the mental health system in our nation is broken.  Tim Murphy's "Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis" bill is the start to repair our mental health system and give many living with a severe and persistent mental illness a chance at a better life.  In doing so many innocent lives will undoubtedly be saved.

Thank you again,

Brenda Benson
2101 Spindletop Drive
Murray, KY 42071


Joann Strunk, A mother from Lexington KY writes, "I hate to see this become a Republican vs Democrat issue. It is a HUMAN issue and this posturing is only going to undermine anything that might be done." 


Dear Kim, Thank you for the eye-opening article. This is legislation which will change lives of those with serious and persistent mental illness and their families. These individuals have been suffering much too long.

Please continue to use your writing ability to cover this subject and reference HR3717.

Appreciatively, a family member and a mental health advocate since 1969.

Carolyn Helt Colliver
Lexington, Ky