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Candlelight Ceremony to Mark World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day, sponsored by the World Federation for Mental Health, will be observed Sunday, Oct. 10, 2004, with former First Lady Rosalynn Carter as honorary chair. "The Relationship Between Physical and Mental Health: Co-occurring Disorders," is this year's theme.

Two Carter Center-related events are scheduled as part of World Mental Health Day:
A pre-taped interview with Dr. Thomas Bornemann, director of the Carter Center's Mental Health Program, will air Oct. 10 on B98.5FM/Atlanta at 6:45 a.m., during the station's public affairs program "Choosing Life: Addictions, Mental Health & Recovery," hosted by Suzi Marsh, LCSW. The one-hour interview will be streamed simultaneously on the station's Web site: (click to listen Oct. 10).

A candlelight ceremony will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Center's Cyprus Room and is open to the public. The ceremony theme echoes the global event's emphasis: "Investing in the Whole Person: Whole Body Wellness Includes Mental Health."

Master of Ceremonies is Mark Trail, director of Georgia's Medicaid system. Speakers include Ellyn Jeager, legislative chair of Mental Health Services Coalition and a consumer of mental health services, and Gwen Skinner, director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addictive Diseases. Music will be provided by the Mellowtones.

During the ceremony, candles will be lit in honor and memory of friends and family members with mental illnesses.

The ceremony is sponsored by the Mental Health Services Coalition, committed to providing the best services for consumers in the state of Georgia and the inclusion of people with mental illnesses in the life of the community, and The Carter Center.

The theme for World Mental Health Day addresses a connection between physical and emotional health that is often overlooked, Dr. Bornemann said.

"Health means more than just the absence of disease," he said. "To be healthy is to be actively engaged in everyday activities that bring meaning and fulfillment to our lives. For too long, mental health was not included in our notion of health. Now we know that the vast majority of people with mental illnesses can, with treatment, lead perfectly normal, healthy lives," he added.

"As we increasingly come to acknowledge this truth, the myths and discrimination that persist around mental illnesses will disappear," said Dr. Bornemann, a World Federation for Mental Health advisory board member.

Learn more about World Federation for Mental Health.

Learn more about Rosalynn Carter's advocacy and about the Carter Center's Mental Health Program.

Read Mrs. Carter's World Mental Health Day letter (PDF)

The Relationship Between 
Physical and Mental Health: 
Co-occurring Disorders
Seventeenth-century philosopher Rene Descartes conceptualized the distinction between the mind and the body. He viewed the "mind" as completely separable from the "body" And for almost two centuries, mental health advocates have been trying to put them back together This separation between so-called "mental" and" physical" health has no real relevance to the scientific understanding of health in the 21st century; yet the myths and misinformation persist. Mental health advocates all over the world have, in almost apologetic posturing, said that this false premise should no longer exist and yet these voices continue to go unheard. The time has come to reinforce what we stand for -- mind and body are inseparable: health is a complete state of well-being -- and there is no health without mental health.

(From the World Mental Health Day Web site.) 

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