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Rosalynn Carter, Former Congressman Tony Coelho Host Discussion on Mental Illness

Contact: Paige Rohe, The Carter Center, 404-420-5129,

ATLANTA…Former U.S. First Lady and Carter Center Co-Founder Rosalynn Carter and former Congressman Tony Coelho will join experts from the federal government and other mental health officials to discuss new research published in the American Journal of Public Health's first theme issue on stigma against people with mental illness on April 18, 2013, at 2 p.m. at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga.

"Having worked in the mental health field for more than 40 years, I have seen firsthand the detrimental effects that stigma and discrimination can have on a person's recovery from mental illness," said Mrs. Carter who founded the Carter Center's Mental Health Program in 1991. "With one-quarter of Americans affected by mental illnesses every year, it is fitting that the American Journal of Public Health has devoted this special theme issue to the important role stigma plays in overall public health and in wellness."

The theme issue is among the first public health publications ever devoted to new research on mental illness stigma and was sponsored by The Carter Center, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, with additional support from the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities Directors.

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. It is estimated that the United States loses $317 billion annually because of untreated mental illnesses, a large portion of which is due to lost earnings. As a result, communities across the United States bear a staggering burden of untapped potential and needless suffering.

Although mental health stigma research, as a field, is relatively new, research has begun to drive a well-defined agenda to improve the knowledge base on this issue. Mental health experts agree there are many lessons that can be learned from other health conditions such as HIV/AIDS and breast cancer.

The special journal issue, which features new research on the public's understanding of mental illness, the health impacts of stigma, and more than 30 other expert articles, can be found at


The Carter Center Launch Event for the 
American Journal of Public Health Special Theme Issue on Stigma

Thursday, April 18, 2013
2 – 3:00 p.m.

2:00 p.m.

Thomas Bornemann, Ed.D.
Director, The Carter Center Mental Health Program

Wayne Giles, M.D., M.S.
Director, Division of Population Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Ron Manderscheid
Executive Director, National Association of County Behavioral Health & Developmental Disability Directors

Rebecca Palpant Shimkets
Assistant Director, The Carter Center Mental Health Program

Former U.S. First Lady and Carter Center Co-Founder Rosalynn Carter

Former Congressman Tony Coelho

Thom Bornemann, Ed.D.

2:45 p.m. Audience Q&A
3:00 p.m. Conclusion

Editor's Note:


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.

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