Campaign Unveiled as Congress Considers Major Mental Health Reforms
February 11, 2015 (Washington, DC) – As House and Senate Democrats and Republicans focus on comprehensive mental health reform, and a recent poll by the Kennedy Center for Mental Health Policy and Research indicated that 71% of Americans are calling for “significant “ or “radical” changes in the way that mental illnesses and addiction are treated, leading mental health experts and advocacy groups have announced the formation of the Recovery Now! Campaign. The campaign has been created to address the crisis in our mental health service system and the personal crises faced daily by individuals and families in great distress.
“Mental health policy reform is rightly a top priority for Congress and the country,” said Bob Bernstein, executive director of the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law. “We want to ensure that any reform advances the science of what we know works: accessible, recovery-oriented, community-based treatments and supports.”
The campaign promotes the hope and promise that people can and do recover from even the most serious mental health conditions when they are provided a full array of both treatment and recovery supports. “The data is clear: approaches that promote stable housing, employment, crisis respite and empathetic connections to others are as critically important as medical services to help individuals move from crisis to recovery,” said Harvey Rosenthal, Executive Director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services.
“Recovery is real. I’m living proof, and so are thousands of others. Now is the time for major change, so that all Americans living with mental health and substance use conditions have a decent chance at recovery. Together we can shift our current climate of fear and despair to one of hopefulness and possibility,” said Leah Harris, Recovery Now! campaign coordinator and director of the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery.
Added Phyllis Vine, a family activist and author of the book Families in Pain, “All families should advocate for recovery-oriented mental health reform, including peer and family support, which give our loved ones a real chance to live, work, and thrive in their communities.”
Recovery Now! brings a needed focus on recovery into the national conversation about the mental health care. The campaign will identify and promote proven approaches to end cycles of preventable relapses, hospitalizations, incarceration, and homelessness; advance concrete strategies to prevent and address mental health crisis; and will advocate for greater availability of comprehensive community-based services that promote wellness and recovery through the integration of mental health, addiction and medical care.
Organizations supporting the campaign include the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors, the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services, Mental Health America, the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and the National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery. Spokespersons are available for public comment on mental health reform.