In a proclamation issued yesterday, President Obama has designated May as National Mental Health Awareness Month. In explaining the importance of focusing on mental health and mental illness, Obama emphasized that, “Despite great strides in our understanding of mental illness and vast improvements in the dialogue surrounding it, too many still suffer in silence.” He said this special month is an opportunity to “reaffirm our commitment to building our understanding of mental illness, increasing access to treatment, and ensuring those who are struggling know that they are not alone.” He stressed the increased access to mental health care that will follow passage of the Affordable Care Act, as well as special initiatives his administration has fostered to address the mental health needs of children and veterans.
In responding to the President’s proclamation, APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., said, “APA applauds President Obama’s proclamation of May as National Mental Health Awareness Month, especially his focus on the need to increase awareness of mental illnesses and make mental health treatment, including for substance use disorders, more accessible to the millions who suffer in silence. In emphasizing that mental illness should not be viewed differently from other illnesses, he is taking a step toward reducing the stigma that too often deters people from seeking help.”
Read the full text of the proclamation here.