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Help Us Protect PAIMI

Congress is threatening the civil rights of people with mental illness. We need your help to stop them!ProtectPAIMI_petition

Here's what's happening.

Earlier this year, Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) introduced H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act. The bill seeks to improve the mental health system in the United States and we agree that there are problems that need to be fixed. But H.R. 2646 attacks one of the most successful programs for helping people with mental illness who are being abused, neglected or experiencing violations of their human and civil rights.

That program is called Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI). It provides children and adults living with psychiatric disabilities with independent advocates. These advocates offer a range of support including legal advice for navigating our complicated mental health system, defense against discrimination in education, employment, and housing, and, most importantly, monitors and investigates instances of abuse and neglect so that people who do seek help are safe.

We cannot let Congress dismantle this greatly needed and highly successful program. Please join our campaign to #ProtectPAIMI.




Watch this video to learn more about how PAIMI is helping families across the country. 

Marilyn Roberts’ son Kevin was incarcerated and prevented from accessing the treatment he needed to manage his mental illness. A bill currently being considered by Congress (H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act) would seriously weaken our ability to protect the civil rights of people like Kevin. Help us fight for the civil rights of all people with mental illness. Add your name to our petition at  

"They treat you like a dog."


Louise Worrell and Vietress Bacon were living in unsafe and unsanitary facilities. That is until PAIMI advocates helped them regain their freedom and independence.


Watch this video to hear the stories of two women helped by PAIMI and learn more about the PAIMI program.


"I don’t want to be forced to be naked anymore."

Shaking and terrified, Barb looked at the PAIMI attorney and said, “Please help me.”

With those words, Barb hired the Kansas PAIMI program to represent her, engaged their special investigative authority under federal law and started a chain reaction that led to shutting down the abusive group home known as Kaufman House. Because of Barb's bravery and the PAIMI program, the operators of the Kaufman House are now in federal prison for perpetrating bizarre and terrible sexual and physical abuse, and even involuntary slavery. Read more about what happened at the Kaufman House.

If the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (H.R. 2646) had been law, PAIMI advocates would have been prohibited from helping Barb and she would still be suffering horrific abuse at the hands of her captors. You can help the survivors of the Kaufman House and others like them by telling your Representative to protect the PAIMI program. Click here to send a letter.

Information and Background

Support for PAIMI

H.R. 2646- Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 - 114th Congress  

Senate bill: Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 – S. 2680

A bill to amend the Public Health Service Act to provide comprehensive mental health reform, and for other purposes.


  • Link to the PDF of S. 2680:
  • Link to – S. 2680:
  • Link to – S. 2680:

    Letters of Support for S. 2680 

  • Coalition for Mental Health Reform - Letter requesting S. 2680 Floor Vote - May 2016
  • National Association of Counties (NACo) and National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Directors – Letter of Support for Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 (S. 2680) - March 2016
  • NDRN – Letter of support for Mental Health Reform Act of 2016 – March 2016
  • National Association for Rural Mental Health – Letter to House for replacing H.R. 2646 – March 2016
  • New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Inc – Letter of Support of Mental Health Reform Act – March 2016


  • Inside Health - Senate Panel Passes Comprehensive ‘Mental Health Reform Act’ – March 17, 2016
  • Healthcare Daily Report – Senate Panel Approves Mental Health – March 16, 2016
  • Inside Health – Senate HELP Members Release Draft Mental Health Legislation – March 9, 2016
  • Inside Health – Senate HELP Members Release Draft Mental Health Legislation – March 9, 2016
  • Roll Call - March 9, 2016
  • Morning Consultant - Rep. Murphy Hits HELP Committee’s Mental Health Bill - MARY ELLEN MCINTIRE   |   MARCH 8, 2016
  • Article: that reports that the author of proposed mental health legislation in the U.S. house of representatives has criticized the bipartisan U.S. senate bill.

    H.R. 3717 - Helping Families in  Mental Heath Crisis Act of 2013 - 113th Congress

  • NDLA: National Disability Leadership Alliance letter supporting PAIMI
  • ABA: American Bar Association letter supporting PAIMI
  • ACLU: ACLU Support for PAIMI
  • CCD: Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities letter supporting PAIMI
  • Kansas disability organizations: Kansas advocates supporting PAIMI
  • NAMI Ohio: Ohio NAMI supports PAIMI
  • For information on the April 3, 2014 House Energy and Commerce Committee, Health Subcommittee hearing titled: Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2013 got to:
  • Read the Testimony of Nancy Jensen, Person with Lived Mental Health Experiences a client from Disability Rights Center of Kansas who testified as a witness for NDRN

    PAIMI Successes


  • Washington Post - Much Needed Reform of Mental Illness by Marilyn J. Martin, Chesapeake Beach March 8, 2016 - MD Disability Law Center - quoted: 
  • Politico Stop the treatment industrial complex: As states reduce their prison populations, companies are finding new ways to profit off the criminal justice system. By Arjun Sethi and Cate Graziani - Marcch 2016
  • Articles – tracking H.R. 2646 issues - December 2015
  • Civil and Human Rights concerns with  Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015 (H.R. 2646) – October 2015
  • Civil Rights outreach sheet on “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act of 2015” (H.R. 2646) introduced by Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA) - November 2015
  • Op-ED – More Harm Than Good – Federal bill is not the way to change mental health system by Ron Sylvester – The Hutchinson News – Dec. 4, 2015
  • Kansan abused at Newton facility opposes mental-health reform bill: Stripping groups of legal power to intervene jeopardizes patients by Tom Carpenter – December 21, 2015
  • Campaign for Real Mental Health Change
  • Recovery Now -
  • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law – IOC Myths and Facts sheet (April 2014)
  • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law – “Wrong Focus – Mental Health in the Gun Safety Debate” (April 2013)
  • Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law Murphy Bill impact based on race - 2013
  • Racial Disparities in Involuntary Outpatient Commitment: Are They Real? Article in Health Affairs May 2009
  • Testimony: Extending Kendra's Law - New York Civil Liberties