Mental Health Program

Beyond Stigma: Advancing the Social Inclusion of People with Mental Illness
Nov. 1-2, 2012

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Former U.S. First Lady and Carter Center Co-Founder Rosalynn Carter brought together more than 200 mental health leaders, stakeholders, and providers to discuss steps communities can take to build social inclusion of people living with mental illnesses during the 28th Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy on Nov.1-2, 2012, at The Carter Center, in Atlanta, Ga.

"Although we know much more about mental illnesses and how to treat them than ever before, stigma against these disorders remains," said Mrs. Carter. "One of the best ways to fight stigma and discrimination in the long run is to take action and develop public policies that provide communities with the foundations and tools to include and support people living with mental illnesses. We hope this year's symposium will give many communities throughout the country the information they need to support all of their citizens and help improve life for everyone."

Although one in four Americans will experience a mental illness each year, the stigma and discrimination against people who suffer from these disorders prevents millions from seeking and receiving effective treatment. As a result, communities across the United States bear a staggering burden of untapped potential and needless suffering.

The United States loses an estimated $317 billion a year because of untreated mental illnesses, a large portion of which is due to lost earnings. Access to community mental health services — which was mandated by the Supreme Court more than a decade ago (Olmsteadv. L.C. and E.W) — has yet to be fully implemented in most states across the country.

The Carter Center believes that by working together, there is great opportunity to end discrimination against people living with mental illnesses.

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