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DECEMBER 9, 2013

Mental Health Expert Addresses Sandy Hook Anniversary and the Importance of Ensuring Access to Mental Health Treatment

To arrange a media interview with Linda Rosenberg of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, please contact Robert Schwartz ( or 202-207-3665)

Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing, is a national expert on mental health care issues, both the availability of treatment and the need for additional federal policy to expand access to services.  She is available for interviews in advance of the one-year anniversary of the tragedy in Newtown, Conn on December 14.

The following quote can be attributed to Linda Rosenberg:

One year after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary, the nation still mourns.  How could this have happened and what can be done to prevent it from happening again.

One in 5 Americans are, right now, living with a mental illness.  Nearly half of them go without care, either because they can’t afford it or, more often, because they don’t know where to go or what to do. We must change that.  We must shatter the silence that condemns too many of our young people with mental illness, and their families, to isolation and despair.

One year later, Congress is still debating two pieces of bi-partisan legislation that would go a long way toward ensuring more people get the mental health treatment they need.

The Excellence in Mental Health Act would improve the quality of mental health care and expand access to mental health treatment for hundreds of thousands of people served by community mental health centers.

The Mental Health First Aid Act would expand access to public education programs designed to help the teachers, first responders and others identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders.  People are hungry for these programs.  Since 2008, nearly 150,000 people have been trained in Mental Health First Aid – 40 percent of them in just the last year, since the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Nothing can guarantee that a tragedy like Sandy Hook won’t happen again.  But Congress is in a position to help ensure that our families and our neighbors have the resources to better address mental health needs in our communities.  Let us be sure this anniversary is marked by progress, and a renewed federal commitment to mental health services.

The National Council for Mental Wellbeing (National Council) is the unifying voice of America’s community mental health and addictions treatment organizations. Together with our 2,000+ member organizations employing 750,000 staff, we serve our nation’s most vulnerable citizens — the more than 8 million adults and children living with mental illnesses and addiction disorders. We are committed to ensuring all Americans have access to comprehensive, high-quality care that affords every opportunity for recovery and full participation in community life. The National Council pioneered Mental Health First Aid in the U.S., which has trained 150,000 individuals to connect youth and adults in need to mental health and addictions care in their communities.

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