New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Resolution

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New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Resolution
by Graciela Flores Napolitano

Source: 2003 Congressional Record, Vol. 149, Pg. E1965

New Freedom Commission on Mental Health Resolution


HON. GRACE F. NAPOLITANO

OF CALIFORNIA
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Thursday, October 2, 2003


Mrs. NAPOLITANO. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to introduce my resolution regarding the report by the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. I urge my colleagues to support this resolution and adopt the goals and recommendations of the Commission's report. As we commemorate Mental Illness Awareness Week, we must take steps to implement these goals and ensure affordable, accessible, and high quality mental health care for all Americans.

I commend the Commission for their insightful and informative report. Almost one quarter of all Americans currently suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder, but a only small fraction of them actually receive the treatment they need. This is unacceptable. The Commission's report provides us with six key goals and corresponding recommendations that will help ensure that all Americans who need mental health services receive them in an effective manner.

The goals of the Commission are as follows:

(1) To help all Americans understand that mental health is essential to overall health;

(2) To make mental health care consumer and family driven;

(3) To eliminate disparities in mental health services;

(4) To make early mental illness screening, assessment, and referral to services common practice;

(5) To ensure delivery of excellent mental health care and acceleration of mental illness research; and

(6) To use technology to access mental health care and information.

It would be a tragedy to ignore the Commission's report and its sensible recommendations. Every year we lose approximately 30,000 lives in the U.S. to suicide. Every year we lose millions of dollars in lost productivity due to mental illness. Many of these lives and dollars could be saved if high quality mental health services were accessible to all.

I call upon all of my colleagues in Congress and my friends in the Administration and in the mental health advocacy community to work together and take the necessary steps to implement the Commission's goals and dramatically improve mental health care in this Nation.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).