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Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy Set for Nov. 5-6


Mental Health Symposium Plots Strategies for Implementing Presidential Commission Recommendations

ATLANTA....Forty-three-year-old Tom Lane's story illustrates what's wrong with America's access to mental health services. Not long ago, he was coping with severe depression and bipolar disorder in northern California. Medical bills amounted to more than $40,000. Unable to get any mental health insurance and living in total isolation, he was desperate and nearly succeeded at suicide. He managed to find help just in time. Today, he is a successful and experienced professional serving as the director of consumer affairs with the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill.

On Nov. 5-6, a national group of health experts and policy-makers will meet at The Carter Center in the most significant effort to implement recommendations from the final report of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health to date. In July 2003, after a year of study, the New Freedom Commission reported several barriers that needlessly impede Americans' access to care and mental health services including: a lack of quality services for adults and children; inadequate funding for existing mental health services; treatment limitations; the tendency for mental health services to focus on dependency rather than recovery; and a lack of support for new and effective treatments. Learn more about the New Freedom Commission's report.

The Nineteenth Annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy, Transforming the Vision: The President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, will provide participants with strategies to achieve that goal. The former First Lady will deliver opening and closing statements at the invitation-only event. "While there have been major advancements in our understanding of the brain and new treatments developed, our ability to provide quality care is still inadequate," Mrs. Carter said. "I am especially concerned that in this time of declining financial resources many of the gains we have made will be lost." Mrs. Carter was honorary chair of the first President's Commission on Mental Health, which spearheaded passage of the Mental Health Care Act of 1980.

Also scheduled to participate in the symposium are David Satcher, M.D., Ph.D., former U.S. surgeon general, who issued the first surgeon general's report on mental illness; Michael Hogan, Ph.D., who chaired the New Freedom Commission and will deliver the keynote address; and four other members of the commission, including Larke N. Huang, Ph.D., who also is a member of The Carter Center Mental Health Task Force. For a complete symposium agenda, please click here. News media, please use contact information above.

The annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium is unique in bringing together leaders from a wide array of disciplines and sectors, including: federal, state, and local governments; professional groups; consumer and advocacy organizations; Carter Center Mental Health Task Force and program experts; and business and faith-based communities to discover new ways to cooperate to meet America's special mental health challenges.

The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 65 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production.

Learn more about Rosalynn Carter's advocacy in mental health.


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