Local Organizations Come Together for Upcoming Mental Health Town Hall

Local Organizations Come Together for Upcoming Mental Health Town Hall

Concord, NHMental Health for US, The National Council for Behavioral Health and the NH Community Behavioral Health Association have assembled a Host Committee of 25 local organizations that have signed on to support the upcomingUnite for Mental Health: New Hampshire Town Hall to be held on December 16, 2019 at The Dana Center at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH. The event will serve as a town hall for 2020 presidential candidates to engage with an audience of New Hampshire families, mental health professionals and local policymakers to discuss the key issues and solutions related to mental health.

“The member organizations of the Host Committee are collectively involved in all aspects of the mental health community here in New Hampshire and are led by engaged and compassionate leadership,” says Roland Lamy, Executive Director of the NH Community Behavioral Health Association. “The number of organizations willing to join the Host Committee provides overwhelming evidence that there is broad interest to discuss an issue of such profound importance. Their diverse perspectives and specialties will make for an inclusive and powerful event to raise awareness of mental health policies during the 2020 presidential campaign cycle and beyond.”

Host Committee members are involved with event programming, bringing awareness to the event, attendance at the event and continuing the conversation around mental health policies after the event.

Member organizations of the Host Committee are:

American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, NH Chapter
American Mental Health Counselors’ Association
Bi-State Primary Care
Center for Life Management
Community Partners of Strafford County
Dartmouth-Hitchcock
Disability Rights Center
Granite State Home Health & Hospice Association
Greater Nashua Mental Health
Lakes Region Mental Health Center
Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester
Mental Health for US
Monadnock Family Services
NAMI New Hampshire
National Council for Behavioral Health
New Hampshire Medical Society
New Hampshire Mental Health Counselors Association
NH Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative
NH Community Behavioral Health Association
NH Psychiatric Association
Northern Human Services
Riverbend Community Mental Health, Inc.
Seacoast Mental Health Center, Inc.
West Central Behavioral Health

More about the event:

What: Unite for Mental Health: New Hampshire Town Hall
Where: Dana Center at Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Dr., Manchester, NH
When: Monday, December 16 at 6:30 PM
Who: 2020 presidential candidates, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, other local experts

Registration: tinyurl.com/Unite4MentalHealthNH

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About the Event Partners:

Mental Health for US is a nonpartisan educational initiative focused on elevating mental health and addiction in national policy conversations by empowering grassroots advocates and improving candidate and policymaker health literacy. The Mental Health for US coalition is comprised of more than 83 stakeholder groups from around the country dedicated to uniting the American people to make systemic, long-term change with civic engagement tools and resources.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,326 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and 2 million Americans have been trained.

The NH Community Behavioral Health Association (NH CBHA), Concord, New Hampshire, is a section 501(c)(3) organization, established by the ten community mental health centers in New Hampshire for the purposes of advocating for the priorities of NH CBHA members, eliminate the stigma related to mental health, provide high quality and effective systems of care, and raise awareness of overall health care and prevention and treatment of mental illness.

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Contact:
Danielle Duchesne
603-228-3322 x109
dduchesne@dupontgroup.com

Click here to download the PDF of this press release.

As we approach the 2020 elections, debates become more and more important as America prepares to choose who will become our next president. So far this election season, there have been six Democratic primary debates, but there hasn’t been a single question about the most pressing issues facing our nation today: mental health and addiction.

With nearly one in five Americans living with mental illness and one in 12 living with addiction, and deaths from suicide and overdose at an all-time high, it’s time to get presidential candidates talking about their plans to address these crises.

The next Democratic debate is taking place on November 20 in Atlanta. Here’s our chance to demand the moderators #AskAboutMentalHealth! Share one of the tweets below! 

Hey @maddow, @mitchellreports, @kwelkernbc, & @AshleyRParker – we’ve had 6 #DemDebates so far but not even one question about plans to support the 1 in 5 Americans living with a mental illness. On Nov. 20, please #AskAboutMentalHealth! https://bit.ly/2oPOQnX

Click here to send out this tweet

Hey @NBCNews, @washingtonpost, & @MSNBC – we’ve had 6 #DemDebates so far but there hasn’t been a single question about mental health, which impacts 1 in 5 Americans. Make sure your moderators #AskAboutMentalHealth on November 20! https://bit.ly/2oPOQnX

Click here to send out this tweet

 

 

About Mental Health for US

Mental Health for US is a nonpartisan educational initiative focused on elevating mental health and addiction to national policy conversations by empowering grassroots advocates and improving candidate and policymaker health literacy. The Mental Health for US coalition is comprised of stakeholder groups from around the country dedicated to uniting the American people to make systemic, long-term change with civic engagement tools and resources.

“Unite for Change” Rally will demand action on mental health and addiction

Des Moines, IowaMental Health for US, a nonpartisan educational initiative dedicated to elevating mental health and addiction in national and state policy conversations, will host a Unite for Change rally today at Drake University to explore the pressing issues of mental health and addiction with former U.S. Representative Patrick J. Kennedy and Norman J. Ornstein, political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

As Iowans prepare to cast the first votes in the country for the 2020 primary election, national and state advocates want to ensure that mental health and addiction—including suicide and overdose prevention—are at the forefront of policy conversations; comprehensive, holistic approaches to mental health are integrated into physical health care; and our struggling systems are reformed to meet the needs of all Americans.

“Too often, mental health and addiction get pushed aside during election season even though they have devastating impacts on communities—both in Iowa and around the country. Mental health and addiction must be top-of-mind for every candidate running for public office,” said former U.S. Rep. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum and Mental Health for US co-chair. “This rally will provide advocates in Iowa the tools they need to stand up and demand action—it’s time for all of us to hold policymakers accountable for prioritizing these issues.”

Iowa has been disproportionally impacted by the behavioral health workforce shortage. The state ranks 47th nationally in the number of practicing psychiatrists per capita, and has the lowest ratio of state psychiatric beds to residents in the country, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness – Iowa (NAMI).

“Mental health services should be available to every person that needs them. I’m proud of Iowa’s state and national policymakers who are listening and taking action to increase access to the supports our community needs,” said Peggy Huppert, executive director of NAMI – Iowa and emcee of the Rally. “This isn’t just a state problem. Now, more than ever, it is critical that we in the mental health and addiction community make our voices heard on the national level.”

In addition to several national leaders joining the event, local advocates will share personal stories highlighting the impact mental health and addiction has on individuals, families, and communities.

For a full list of speakers and bios, please see our Press Kit.

Watch a livestream video of the rally here.

About Mental Health for US

Mental Health for US is a nonpartisan educational initiative focused on elevating mental health and addiction in policy conversations by empowering grassroots advocates and improving candidate and policymaker health literacy. The initiative is powered by a coalition of more than 65 stakeholder groups from around the country dedicated to uniting the American people to make systemic, long-term change with civic engagement tools and resources. For more information, visit www.mentalhealthforus.net.

Mental Health Town Hall Featuring 2020 Presidential Candidates Coming to NH

Concord, NH Mental Health for US, The National Council for Behavioral Health, and the NH Community Behavioral Health Association are partnering to announce Mental Health for US Unite for Mental Health: New Hampshire Town Hall to be held on December 16, 2019 at The Dana Center at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH.

The event will serve as a town hall for 2020 presidential candidates to engage with an audience of New Hampshire families, mental health professionals and local policymakers to discuss the key issues and solutions related to mental health. New Morning Consult data released by the National Council for Behavioral Health shows a majority of voters – regardless of party affiliation – say they are more likely to support a candidate in 2020 who promises to address mental health and addiction. In addition, the survey found that 75 percent of Americans believe the country and the federal government are not doing enough to address mental health. The event will include presentations from presidential candidates, experts and mental health community leaders as well as an open discussion around important issues related to health care, judicial reform and mental health and addiction treatment.

Access to effective high-quality mental health services is at a critical state in New Hampshire, and they are not the only state facing this challenge. Long wait times for care at local and regional hospitals, lack of residential beds, low Medicaid reimbursement rates and major workforce shortages are responsible for this lack of access—these issues and more drive the need for public policy that will create meaningful change. Despite these obstacles, there is a strong and compassionate community of health care professionals, non-profits and citizens that work tirelessly to improve the lives of those living with mental illness. The town hall will elevate the discussion of mental health policies in the 2020 presidential cycle and highlight the voices of the mental health community in New Hampshire as part of the national public policy conversation.

Former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy will speak at the event and offer his insights on the unmet needs of the behavioral health community nationwide. An invited audience of approximately 500 people will attend the event. The event will be open to the media and will be livestreamed.

 

Summary:

What: Mental Health for US Unite for Mental Health: New Hampshire Town Hall
Where: Dana Center at Saint Anselm College, 100 Saint Anselm Dr., Manchester, NH
When: Monday, December 16 at 6:30 PM
Who: 2020 presidential candidates, former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, other local experts

 

About the Event Partners:

Mental Health for US is a nonpartisan educational initiative focused on elevating mental health and addiction to national policy conversations by empowering grassroots advocates and improving candidate and policymaker health literacy. The Mental Health for US coalition is comprised of more than 65 stakeholder groups from around the country dedicated to uniting the American people to make systemic, long-term change with civic engagement tools and resources.

The National Council for Behavioral Health is the unifying voice of America’s health care organizations that deliver mental health and addictions treatment and services. Together with our 3,300 member organizations serving over 10 million adults, children and families living with mental illnesses and addictions, the National Council is committed to all Americans having access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery. The National Council introduced Mental Health First Aid USA and 2 million Americans have been trained.

The NH Community Behavioral Health Association (NH CBHA), Concord, New Hampshire, is a section 501(c)(3) organization, established by the ten community mental health centers in New Hampshire for the purposes of advocating for the priorities of NH CBHA members, eliminate the stigma related to mental health, provide high quality and effective systems of care, and raise awareness of overall health care and prevention and treatment of mental illness.

 

Contact:

Casey Dillon
703-479-3644
casey.dillon@curastrategies.com

Mental Health for US today released survey responses from the top presidential candidates concerning our nation’s growing mental health and addiction crises. The survey, which asked 11 unbiased questions addressing suicide and drug overdose, criminal justice reform, equal access to care, and more, aimed to get top candidates on the record about steps they would take to improve mental health and addiction in America.

Presidential candidates averaging at or above one percent in national polls tracked by RealClearPolitics on July 15, 2019were given the opportunity to respond. Survey recipients were:

  • Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden
  • U.S. Senator Cory Booker
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • Former U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro
  • U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
  • U.S. Senator Kamala Harris
  • U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • Former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke
  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
  • U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren
  • U.S. President Donald Trump
  • Former U.S. Governor Bill Weld
  • Mr. Andrew Yang

The following candidates provided responses outlining their plans to improve mental health and addiction care in the United States:

  • U.S. Senator Cory Booker
  • Mayor Pete Buttigieg
  • U.S. Senator Kamala Harris
  • U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar
  • U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders
  • U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren

Full responses, which were limited to 300 words per question, have been published verbatim on the Mental Health for US website. The Mental Health for US coalition encourages presidential candidates who have not yet completed the survey to respond so that voters are informed of their plans to address issues related to mental health.

“Every person in America has been affected by mental health and addiction, whether they’re vocal about it or not. It’s encouraging to see candidates share their thoughts on issues that continue to devastate families and communities nationwide,” said former U.S. Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum and co-chair of the Mental Health for US coalition. “However, these survey responses are just the beginning of the discussion. The Mental Health for US coalition was created to help educate policymakers and candidates on the steps needed to close dangerous gaps in mental health care access and quality in this country.”

An analysis of the survey responses shows several commonalities among respondents. All respondents mentioned increasing access to mental health and addiction care in rural and underserved populations as a key driver in reducing deaths by suicide and overdose. Nearly all respondents also indicated their intention to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the opioid epidemic and all respondents shared plans to expand access to treatment and services for those living in recovery from addiction. Additionally, all respondents agreed that mental health and addiction must be decriminalized in some way, and that increased funding will be critical to expand and improve services.

However, approaches to solving mental health and addiction issues varied widely, as did candidates’ priorities. Some candidates focused more on improving early intervention and prevention, while others outlined plans to address the country’s current concerns. Plans to enforce federal and state parity laws, reform the criminal justice system, and increase access to evidence-based treatment options were approached differently by respondents.

“Policymakers, including candidates for president, should be aware of the enormous mental health and addiction challenges facing our nation,” said former U.S. Senator Gordon H. Smith, co-chair of the Mental Health for US coalition. “We urge every candidate to put forth policy proposals to address this crisis, starting with this survey and our Presidential Candidate Forum series. There are few families in America who have gone untouched by mental illness. We challenge policymakers to address this crisis with understanding, empathy and a treatment option strategy that will end suffering for so many.”

The Mental Health for US Presidential Candidate Forum series will kick off at Drake University in Iowa on September 27. Tickets are free to the public and can be reserved here. Subsequent events will take place in New Hampshire on December 16, 2019 and in California on January 13, 2020. These forums offer presidential candidates the opportunity to speak directly with the community about their plans to address mental health and addiction in America.

About Mental Health for US
Mental Health for US is a nonpartisan educational initiative focused on elevating mental health and addiction in policy conversations by empowering grassroots advocates and improving candidate and policymaker health literacy. The initiative is powered by a coalition of stakeholder groups from around the country dedicated to uniting the American people to make systemic, long-term change with civic engagement tools and resources. For more information, visit www.mentalhealthforus.net.

Media Contact
Erin Buckley
erin.buckley@curastrategies.com

 

*Edit: Sen. Harris’ responses were received after the press release crossed the wire.

Nonpartisan initiative from leading organizations shines spotlight on mental health and addiction

Washington, D.C. – Eight of the nation’s most prominent mental health and addiction organizations united today to launch Mental Health for US, a landmark nonpartisan initiative designed to elevate mental health and addiction in policy conversations during the upcoming election season.

Nearly one in five Americans live with mental illness and one in 12 live with addiction. In 2017, 70,237 Americans died from a drug overdose. Every day, an estimated 17 veterans die by suicide, and more than 46% of homeless adults within the U.S. live with severe mental illness. By educating the public on the severity of America’s health crisis, Mental Health for US seeks to be a catalyst in effectively and holistically addressing mental health and addiction to reduce suicide and overdose deaths.

The movement launched at The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s 10th Annual Advocacy Forum by former U.S. Representative and co-chair of the Mental Health for US initiative Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.). Former U.S. Senator Gordon H. Smith (R-OR), a long-time mental health advocate, will also serve as co-chair.

The eight coalition leaders for Mental Health for US are:

  • The Kennedy Forum
  • The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
  • The Jed Foundation
  • Mental Health America
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Council for Behavioral Health
  • One Mind
  • Thomas Scattergood Behavioral Health Foundation

“Nationwide, families are being ripped apart by deaths of despair from suicides and overdoses,” said Rep. Kennedy, founder of The Kennedy Forum. “This election cycle, as all eyes are on policymakers, we want to unite the American people in demanding legislative action from our government to adequately address the worst public health crisis of our time.”

Mental Health for US presents a comprehensive policy platform with three main focus areas:

  • Prevention: Stakeholders on the local, state, and national levels must unite to foster healthy environments for all Americans that support mental health as a part of overall health.
  • Access and Intervention: All people with mental illness, including substance use disorders and eating disorders, deserve timely access to affordable treatment and recovery services that treat the mind and the body.
  • Recovery: Recovery from mental health and substance use disorders is not one-size-fits-all. A wide variety of recovery services, treatments, and supports should be available to those who need them.

Voters are encouraged to join Mental Health for US by signing a statement of support, sharing their stories, distributing resources and tools to encourage active civic engagement, and attending grassroots events to engage candidates. The first events will take place in Iowa and New Hampshire in the fall of 2020. Organizations and policymakers are also encouraged to get involved—resources include communications toolkits, policy and issue briefs, and more.

“The suicide rate has skyrocketed over the past 20 years because mental health and substance use disorders often go undetected and undertreated,” said Sen. Smith. “Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America. Now more than ever, we need our government leaders to stand up and champion systemic change. We have to make our voices heard.”

Later this year, Mental Health for US will provide all presidential candidates polling 1% or above in a national poll tracked by RealClearPolitics the opportunity to get on the record about these issues by responding to a mental health and addiction survey. Candidate responses will be published verbatim on the initiative’s website.

In addition to co-chairs Kennedy and Smith, the Mental Health for US bipartisan honorary advisory board includes:

  • Former U.S. Rep. Mary Bono
  • Former U.S. Under Secretary of the Army Patrick J. Murphy
  • Former U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad
  • Former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher, MD, PhD

Initial champion sponsors of the Mental Health for US initiative include The Kennedy Forum, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and Kaiser Permanente.

Any organization that supports the initiative’s mission is welcome to join as a member. In addition to the founding leaders, Mental Health for US coalition members include:

  • Active Minds
  • Advocates for Opioid Recovery
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America
  • Black Girls Smile
  • Black Mental Health Alliance
  • Bring Change to Mind
  • Center on Addiction + Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
  • Child Mind Institute
  • Columbia University Department of Psychiatry
  • Dil to Dil: Heart to Heart
  • DMAX Foundation
  • Peg’s Foundation
  • Psych Hub
  • Project HEAL
  • Shatterproof
  • Stephanie Becker Fund
  • The Voices Project

If your organization is interested in joining, contact info@mentalhealthforus.net.

Watch a livestream video of the Mental Health for US announcement here.

About Mental Health for US

Mental Health for US is a nonpartisan educational initiative focused on elevating mental health and addiction in policy conversations by empowering grassroots advocates and improving candidate and policymaker health literacy. The initiative is powered by a coalition of stakeholder groups from around the country dedicated to uniting the American people to make systemic, long-term change with civic engagement tools and resources. For more information, visit www.mentalhealthforus.net.

Media Contact
Erin Buckley
erin.buckley@curastrategies.com
571-286-1678

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