Legislative Alerts

Mental Health Advocacy Day in South Carolina is May 1st, 2013

Come to the Gervais St. steps at the South Carolina Statehouse in Columbia from 10am-11am to advocate for positive mental health in South Carolina. Sponsored by Mental Health America of South Carolina, NAMI SC, SC Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, SC Federation of Families and SC SHARE. For more information, contact MHA of South Carolina at www.mha-sc.org. 


Mental Health America Mourns Victims of Newtown, Connecticut, School Shootings, Offers Guidelines to Help in Responding to Impact of Event; Calls for Action to Prevent Such Episodes in Future

Statement of Wayne W. Lindstrom, Ph.D., president and CEO of Mental Health America:

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (December 14, 2012)- Mental Health America joins Americans in mourning the loss of those killed in the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and hope for the full recovery of those who were injured and everyone who is affected by this horrific event.

At this point, we do not know the motivation behind this tragic and senseless act.

We do know that events like this will impact families, the community and the nation. Many may feel at risk and may experience feelings of anxiety and fear. Parents may be groping with how to discuss these and similar events with their children.

Mental Health America has developed guidelines to help Americans respond and cope with tragic events.  To guide discussions about the shooting, Mental Health America offers the following suggestions for parents as they communicate with young people in the area and across the nation:

  • Talk honestly about the incident, without graphic detail, and share some of your own feelings about it.

  • Encourage young people to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings, and validate the young person's feelings and concerns.

  • Limit television viewing. It can be difficult to process the images and messages in news reports.

  • Recognize what may be behind a young person's behavior. They may minimize their concerns outwardly, but may become argumentative, withdrawn or allow their school performance to decline.

  • Keep the dialogue going even after media coverage subsides. Continue to talk about feelings and discuss actions being taken to make schools and communities safer.

  • Seek help when necessary. If you are worried about a young person's reaction or have ongoing concerns about his/her behavior or emotions, contact a mental health professional at their school or at your community mental health center. Your local Mental Health America Affiliate can direct you to resources in your community. Mental Health America's website (www.nmha.org) has a number of additional resources on its website to help provide support and perspective to those directly affected by the tragedy and the nation as a whole.

Unfortunately, tragedies like these are happening far too often in our society. Gun violence is taking too many lives. Mourning and expression of sympathies cannot be our only response. It is time to recognize that guns and gun violence are major public health problems and we need to desperately enact sound public policy that seriously addresses gun control and limits the number of available firearms in this country.
But, such public policy is an incomplete solution at best.  We have enough research evidence about the social determinants behind such violence, and yet we fail to apply what we know on a scale sufficient to truly make a difference.  Let us all come together to create and sustain safe and nurturing school environments and communities.  We know how; all we need is the will. 

More Mental Health America Action Alerts Here

Tell Congress to Act to Avoid Sequestration: Protect Mental Health Programs from Automatic Cuts

On January 2, 2013, vital programs that benefit all Americans, including mental health and social service programs, will face devastating, across-the-board cuts of between 8 and 11 percent through an arcane budget tool known as "sequestration"unless Congress acts to prevent them.

The cuts are required under The Budget Control Act of 2011, which had directed a Super Committee to find $1.2 trillion in savings over 10 years in both defense and non-defense discretionary spending. Because the committee failed to reach a deal, the automatic cuts are scheduled to be triggered at the beginning of the year.

These mandatory cuts will have a devastating impact on mental health and substance use programs and services and related public health programs that are supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and other key agencies. A Mental Health America report on the sequestration details how these indiscriminate cuts would harm individuals living with mental health and substance use conditions.

These programs and services represent a small and shrinking share of the federal budget and our overall economy. They are not drivers of the debt. But to date, they have borne the brunt of deficit reduction efforts. And further cuts will harm hundreds of thousands of children and families who rely on these programs and services for help and support unless Congress works together to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that protects public health programs.

Copyrighted and published 2012 by Mental Health America. No part of this document may be reproduced or retransmitted by any electronic or mechanical means without written consent from Mental Health America.
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