MENTAL HEALTH TASK FORCE
Grace F. Napolitano
Representing California’s 32nd District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 30, 2015
Contact: Jerry O’Donnell, 202-225-5256
Rep. Napolitano, Mental Health Advocates Kick Off Mental Health Awareness Month on Capitol Hill
(Washington, D.C.) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano (CA-32), mental health advocates, and other Members of Congress marked the beginning of National Mental Health Awareness Month and recognized Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day on Capitol Hill.
“We are pleased to be joined by so many advocates to help de-stigmatize mental health, an issue that affects millions of Americans,” Napolitano said. “We will be hosting events throughout the month of May—National Mental Health Awareness Month—to educate ourselves and the public on this critical issue. We encourage all to take action and help fight stigma. Please do not be afraid to speak up and ask for help.”
“The shame has to stop, the stigma has to end,” said Jill Diamond, Multiple Emmy Winner and Chair of World Boxing Cares. “We are isolating our friends and families who suffer and are afraid to ask for help. This May we have an opportunity to make a difference, and the World Boxing Council and the North American Boxing Federation will be wearing their green ribbons at every fight to help knock out stigma.”
“NAMI applauds Congresswoman Napolitano for her commitment to early identification and intervention through school-based mental health programs,” said Darcy Gruttadaro, Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Child & Adolescent Center. “NAMI looks forward to working with the Congresswoman and members of Congress to help ensure that those with early mental health conditions receive the services and supports they need.”
To kick off National Mental Health Awareness Month on Capitol Hill Napolitano held a press conference with advocates wearing green ribbons to show support for May as National Mental Health Awareness Month. Following the press event the group gathered with Members of Congress on the Capitol steps for a photo showing their support for mental health.
In the afternoon Napolitano and mental health professionals held a legislative briefing and panel discussion in recognition of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day (observed nationally on May 7). Sponsored by NAMI, the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Mental Health America, the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, the briefing focused on proven services and supports that can help with the early identification of mental illness and the benefits of early intervention in a school-based setting.
Napolitano and her colleague, Rep. Chris Gibson (R-NY-19), are the lead sponsors of H.R. 1211, the Mental Health in Schools Act. This bipartisan legislation would create grant funding for schools across the country to partner with local nonprofits to provide on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for students. H.R. 1211 is patterned after a successful pilot program started in 2001 in Napolitano’s area, which began in four schools that has now expanded to 26 schools throughout California’s San Gabriel Valley.
If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK FREE (8255).
The full press conference can be viewed here: https://youtu.be/S3zQ8iv_-1Y
The full briefing can be viewed here: http://youtu.be/jf6nH8gBigc