Strengthening mental health in our communities 2014′

Statement of Mental Health America on

“Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act of 2014”

Contact: Steve Vetzner, (703) 797-2588 or svetzner@mentalhealthamerica.net

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (May 6, 2014)—Mental Health America today expressed its appreciation for the initiative and commitment to improving and reforming the nation’s approach to mental illness and mental health that is reflected in the “Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act of 2014.”

The legislation, which was introduced today, is sponsored by Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.) along with Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Doris Matsui (D-Calif.), Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.), and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.).

During the past year, Members of Congress, particularly the House of Representatives, have been examining how to improve mental health services and supports. Key to this effort is finding an effective balance of person-centered, community-based interventions, services, and supports for persons at risk of or who experience mental illness.

The “Strengthening Mental Health in Our Communities Act of 2014” is a commendable effort to articulate, administer and fund this needed balance.

Mental Health America particularly commends the legislative purposes of the legislation as well as the purposes and tasks of a proposed White House Office of Mental Health Policy.

These specifically include concepts vitally important to persons with mental illness, including:

• The integration of behavioral health and general health,

• Person centeredness,

• Access to timely and appropriate services and supports,

• Reduction in crises, homelessness, incarceration,

• Strengthening community-based services,

• Prevention and early intervention,

• Rehabilitation,

• Peer- run services,

• Evidence-based and emerging practices,

• Trauma informed care,

• Recovery,

• Cultural and linguistic competence, and

• Full participation—integrated settings—person’s chosen community.

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