Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Mental Illness in the White House
No, I am not talking about mentally ill people in the executive branch of government. Statistically speaking, there probably is a number of people with mental illness in all the branches of government and I am sure you and I would be surprised to know who they are.
Yes, I am very thankful for the attention being given to one of the most important subjects in our society -- mental illness. Here are some excerpts. This has been shortened and edited.
Obama, and panel discussions
Monday's conference at the White House, which featured remarks from President Barack Obama, two panel discussions with mental health experts and advocates, government officials and celebrity guests, was designed to help reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.
Veterans and mental health summits
The president announced Monday that the Department of Veterans Affairs will direct 151 of its health care centers to conduct mental health summits July 1 through Sept. 15., 2013. The summits, which will include partnerships with local community organizations, will focus on support for veterans and their families, and increase awareness about available mental health programs.
New Informative web site
And Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced a new website, mentalhealth.gov, which she described as a "one-stop shop" for mental health support and a place where visitors can read success stories from individuals with mental illness.
Obama and Michelle know people with severe depression
Obama said that each year "1 in 5 adults experience mental illness" and noted that he and first lady Michelle Obama know people who have battled severe depression.
"Struggling with a mental illness or caring for someone who does can be isolating," Obama said.
The conference included a panel on negative attitudes toward mental illness moderated by Sebelius and a panel on mental health outreach moderated by Education Secretary Arne Duncan, which included a representative from MTV and other messaging experts.
There should be no shame in talking about treatment for mental illness.
Obama's opening remarks Monday morning included his disbelief about the number of "very personal" medical ads shown on television while mental health remains a taboo subject.
"You see commercials on TV about a whole array of physical health issues—some of them very personal," Obama said, drawing laughter. "And yet, we whisper about mental health issues and avoid asking too many questions. ... There should be no shame in discussing or seeking help for treatable illnesses that affect too many people that we love. We've got to get rid of that embarrassment. We've got to get rid of that stigma. Too many Americans who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence rather than seeking help."
Sibelius and breaking the stigma of mental illness
Moderator Sebelius noted the stigmas in society at large that remain regarding mental illness.
"Mental health needs to be an issue we can talk about openly and freely without the fear of being judged or penalized," Sebelius said, noting that those suffering from mental illness continue to be outcast by society.
Congress represented on panels
Other participants included former Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon, whose son committed suicide. Smith currently serves as president and CEO of the National Association of Broadcasters, which is developing a national campaign to increase public awareness of mental health. Audience members who spoke at Monday's first panel included former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island, who has bipolar disorder, and Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.
How can our ministry, Heartfelt (Counseling) Ministries help you?
1. We have written a personal, technical and biblical book about the Christian and Mental Illness.
2. We have on-line support groups for Christians at no cost, except for the Student Guide. Please call our office at 616.427-0775 or you can go to our contact us form on our web site, Here is the link. http://www.heartfeltmin.org/#!contact/cito
3. We counsel persons online, by phone and in person. Please use the above contact information. I encourage you to become a member of this blog.