Past Releases: Stigma of Mental Illness among Veterans and Public Congressional Briefing on May 22
CONTACT: Communications@thenationalcouncil.org or 301-984-6200, ext. 228.
Washington, DC (May 20, 2008)—The high cost of stigma surrounding mental illness among returning veterans and others with serious mental disorders treated in the public mental health system is the topic of a Congressional briefing on Thursday, May 22. Hosted by the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, the briefing will highlight the critical need to encourage people with mental illness to seek treatment.
Mental illness in America is more common than cancer, diabetes, or even heart disease. Almost 60 million Americans, one of four adults and one of five children has a mental illness that can be diagnosed and treated. Yet, while most people would not hesitate to seek treatment for a physical illness, many remain paralyzed when it comes to seeking support for a mental illness. For example, while as many as one in five of the 1.6 million returning veterans will experience a mental disorder, the National Institute of Mental Health estimated that 70% will not seek help from either the Department of Defense or the Veterans Administration.
The social stigma associated with mental illnesses exacts a high price. Serious mental illnesses cost society $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. Further, stigma inhibits health-seeking behavior, which results in people with mental illness dying, on average, 25 years earlier than their counterparts without mental illness.
• Linda Rosenberg, President & CEO, National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare
• Joe Pantoliano, actor and founder of No Kidding, Me Too!
• Delta Burke, actress
• Master Sergeant Joe Santiago, Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran
• A. Kathryn Power, Director, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
• Dr. Joe Parks, Medical Director, Missouri Department of Mental Health
Also attending are actors Matt Dillon, Joe Mantegna, and Joseph Cross and actress Sarah Roemer.
• Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI)
• Representative Jim Ramstad (D-Minn)
WHAT: Mental Health Congressional Briefing
WHERE: B339 Rayburn House Office Building
WHEN: Thursday May 22, 12:00 to 1:30; a box lunch and refreshments will be served.
The National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) association of 1,400 behavioral healthcare organizations that provide treatment and rehabilitation for mental illnesses and addictions disorders to nearly six million adults, children and families in communities across the country.