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Murphy, Newtown families tout progress of federal mental health bill

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Real Story: Visit From U.S. Sen. Murphy

HARTFORD — Some family members of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victims are cheering the recent committee passage of a bipartisan, federal mental health bill that’s moving through Congress.

Much of the legislation, known as the Mental Health Reform Act, updates grants for various mental health-related initiatives. That includes grants for early childhood mental health intervention and treatment programs, telehealth child psychiatry efforts and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and initiatives.

The Senate Health Education Labor and Pension Committee advanced the bill this week. The panel does not have jurisdiction over funding the bill.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, said he hopes money will be found for the legislation, based partly on input from Connecticut patients and advocates.

Murphy appeared Friday in Hartford with the Newtown families.

“I’ve worked so hard to fix our broken mental health care system because I’ve seen how devastating it is when we allow those with mental illness to fall through the cracks. Through more than a dozen roundtables and town halls in Connecticut, I’ve heard hundreds of heartbreaking stories from families struggling to get a loved one the help they need. We all have heard these stories — each of them unique, but somehow exactly the same,” said Murphy in a statement.