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Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum Focuses on Reducing the Stigma of Mental Illnesses

Meryl Bailey 
Telephone: (404) 420-5129

May is National Mental Health Month

ATLANTA…Fear of stigma and discrimination remains one of the biggest factors in preventing people from seeking treatment for mental illnesses. This problem is especially true for older children and young adults struggling with mental health issues who sense additional pressure to "fit in" with their peer group. State leaders, mental health advocates, and consumers will develop anti-stigma activities for communities throughout Georgia during the 12th annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum at The Carter Center on Friday, May 18, 2007.

"Support and compassion from friends can make a big difference on whether or not teenagers and young adults feel comfortable seeking help for mental health issues," said Dr. Thomas Bornemann, director of The Carter Center Mental Health Program. "Organized efforts to educate people on the prevalence of these diseases and their treatment can affect how mental illness is perceived and help foster a culture of understanding and care for those with mental disorders in our young community."

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in partnership with the Ad Council, recently launched a national awareness campaign designed to decrease the negative attitudes that surround mental illnesses. The campaign's public service announcements (PSAs) encourage young adults to support their friends who are living with mental health issues and to play a role in their recovery. The PSAs, titled "What a Difference a Friend Makes," are being distributed to over 28,000 media outlets nationwide.

Realizing the effect this campaign could have on anti-stigma and discrimination efforts across the nation, Mrs. Carter and the Carter Center Mental Health Program chose to highlight the campaign during the 2007 Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum. Campaign materials will be presented by a representative from the Ad Council and made available to participants. There also will be a presentation on peer support programs for adults and children. Working groups will develop plans to implement anti-stigma projects in communities around the state.

Film Screening

A screening of the film, Jumping Off Bridges, will be held the night before the forum, on Thursday, May 17, 2007, at The Carter Center Cecil B. Day Chapel. The film follows a group of adolescents and the impact a parental suicide has on their relationships. A panel discussion will accompany the film, which will be free of charge and open to the public. Please R.S.V.P for this event by calling (404) 420-3804. The film will also be screened during the Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum on May 18.

Media Opportunities

Coverage of the proceedings is open to credentialed news outlets. Interviews are available upon request. Please contact Meryl Bailey, media relations coordinator for Carter Center health programs, at (404) 420-5129 or

The 12th annual Rosalynn Carter Georgia Mental Health Forum is a collaboration of The Carter Center Mental Health Program, the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network (GMHCN), the Georgia Parent Support Network (GPSN), the National Alliance on Mental Illness in Georgia (NAMI GA), and Mental Health America of Georgia (MHAG).


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."

The Carter Center celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2007. A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter 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 in developing nations to increase crop production. 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. Please visit to learn more about The Carter Center.

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