Mental Health Caucus Wraps Up May Mental Health Awareness Month
The Congressional Mental Health Caucus finished up a successful Mental Health Awareness Month at the end of the May. The caucus held three congressional briefings to inform lawmakers and congressional staff on mental health issues, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution authored by Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Grace F. Napolitano recognizing May as Mental Health Month on behalf of the thousands of activists and nonprofits across the country who worked to raise awareness about mental health issues during May.
On May 6, Rep. Grace Napolitano, the Mental Health Caucus, and prominent national mental health advocacy organizations held a briefing in Washington, D.C. on National Children’s Mental Health Day. Napolitano, government administrators, and mental health advocates addressed an audience of activists and congressional staff on child and adolescent mental health issues and the necessity and effectiveness of federally funded mental health programs.
On May 13, Rep. Grace Napolitano (D-CA) and Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA), co-chairs of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, hosted a briefing in Washington, D.C. on the latest developments in mental health programs in the military. Speakers included Chairman of Veterans Affairs Committee Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA), Deputy Surgeon General for the US Army Patricia Horoho, and mental health representatives from the Navy, Marines, and Air Force. Addressing an audience of congressional staff, the speakers agreed that the military must continue its efforts to prepare for troops returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan, and that the stigma against mental health formed a major obstacle treating troops with mental health issues.
On May 20, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano, co-chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, held a briefing in Washington, D.C. on the impact of suicide prevention programs on high school students. The briefing featured a suicide prevention training delivered by Dale and Dar Emme, founders of the Yellow Ribbon suicide prevention program, which illustrated the practical application and real-world significance of mental health policies for congressional staff.
On May 25, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution authored by Rep. Grace Napolitano designating May as Mental Health Month. The final vote was 407 to 1, with 23 abstaining.
“Mental health is an issue that has been ignored for decades,” Napolitano said. “It is time we acknowledged that untreated mental illness continues to cause suffering among our friends, family, soldiers and veterans. Awareness is essential for erasing the myths and stigma surrounding mental illness that prevent people from seeking care. I applaud the activists and lawmakers who have worked hard to draw attention to mental health issues, and hope to call upon them again for support on future legislation addressing mental health concerns.”
Learn more about the Mental Health in Schools Act and preventative mental health care.