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Mental Health Month: Center Joins National Observance During May

Throughout May, The Carter Center will join organizations and individuals across the United States in observance of Mental Health Month, sponsored by The National Mental Health Association. With the theme "Mind Your Health," Mental Health Month will encourage people to care for their minds as well as their bodies as part of maintaining good overall health.

During this month, the Center's mental health work will be highlighted in an interview by former First Lady Rosalynn Carter to be aired on PBS stations nationwide, a live WebMD chat May 25 with Mrs. Carter and Carter Center Mental Health Program Director Thom Bornemann, Ed.D., and an interview on WSB-Radio with Lei Ellingson, assistant director of the Center's Mental Health Program.
Mrs. Carter will be the featured guest on Scully: The World Show, hosted by Robert Scully, airing on PBS affiliates nationwide during May. Note for Atlanta area viewers: Scully: The World Show featuring Mrs. Carter will air Sunday, May 1 at 2 p.m. ET on PBA30 (Public Broadcasting Atlanta).

WebMD will feature Mrs. Carter and Dr. Bornemann for a live online chat Wednesday, May 25, from 12 to 1 p.m. (Mrs. Carter will participate from 12 to 12:30 only). Finally, WSB-Radio (B98.5FM in Atlanta) will air an interview with the Center's Lei Ellingson. She will discuss the Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum and other mental health-related issues.

Founded in 1991 by Mrs. Carter, a mental health advocate since the early 1970's, the Carter Center's Mental Health Program focuses on mental health policy issues with four strategic goals:

  • To reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses
  • To achieve equity for mental health care comparable to other health care
  • To advance promotion, prevention, and early intervention services for children and their families
  • To increase public awareness worldwide about mental health and mental illness and to stimulate local actions to address those issues.

  • The Carter Center helps "spread the understanding that mental health is integral to total physical health," said Dr. Bornemann in a statement issued for Mental Health Month. "Mind Your Health" and its emphasis on the integration of mind-body health care is at the heart of the Center's mental health work, he explained.
    "We each have a right to enjoy the full promise of a healthy and happy life," he said.

    Mental Health Awareness Month Statement

    The Carter Center's Mental Health Program aims to fight stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses. This includes improving access to quality care for those most in need. Achieving equal insurance coverage for mental health conditions, or parity, is key in this endeavor.
    Two signature events this year will lead the way in bringing those goals closer to reality.
    On May 19, the annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum will examine concerns created by the state's decision to transfer its Medicaid program to a managed care system. Georgia will join many other states in their efforts to cut costs, but we ask at what cost to the quality of mental health care. The forum will bring together experts and policy-makers to discuss ways of safeguarding care for those with mental illnesses.

    (Read 2005 Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum press release.)

    On Nov. 2-3, the annual Rosalynn Carter Symposium on Mental Health Policy will propose the need to bridge the widening gap between breakthrough mental health research and the application of this knowledge in patient care. Causes for this chasm between science and treatment will be examined, and the symposium will explore systems that can succeed in delivering cost-effective, innovative care.
    There are no quick fixes, no magic wands we can wave over these issues of grave importance. Join us by helping to spread the understanding that mental health is integral to total physical health. We each have a right to enjoy the full promise of a healthy and happy life. -Thomas Bornemann, director, Mental Health Program

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