White House Conference on Mental Health

NAMI Press Release:

ARLINGTON, Va., June 3, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Michael J. Fitzpatrick,  Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)  issued this statement after attending the White House Conference on Mental Health on June 3, 2013:

NAMI applauds President Obama’s leadership in convening the White House Conference on Mental Health.

NAMI is grateful for both the opportunity to participate in the conference directly and to have shared information and expertise for resources,  including the Obama administration’s new www.mentalhealth.gov website, which features NAMI’s video interview with Yashi Brown as a voice for hope and recovery. We also look forward to our partnership with the National Panhellenic Conference (NPC) and North American Interfraternity Council (NIC), cited by the White House, for presentations on approximately 800 campuses starting this fall.

Today’s conference and many activities to follow in the weeks and months ahead are part of the national dialogue on mental health that the President promised after the Newtown, Conn. tragedy in December 2012.

It is a dialogue that must occur in communities throughout the country, but with a clear understanding that although talk must precede action, the result must be to stimulate action. The significance of the conference is that it reflects new kinds of collaborations and partnerships that extend beyond the traditional mental health community.

The challenge is to expand awareness and support for improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. That means creating a mental health care system that is truly accessible to all who need it, when they need it.

In 2000, President Clinton convened the first White House conference on Mental Health. In 2003, President Bush created a Presidential Commission on Mental Health. Progress resulted, leading particularly to enactment of mental health insurance parity.  But we still have a long, long way to go in building an effective mental health care system.

President Obama’s White House Conference is a call to keep building on progress.  It is a call to build new community partnerships. It is a call to expand mental health care—including Medicaid, which NAMI recently highlighted in a special report. It is a call for support of young people, veterans and others, goals that NAMI shares.

NAMI looks forward to continuing to participate in the national dialogue.

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