There is Hope: Mental Health Conference at White House


I was very leery when Jay Carney announced that  there was going to be a Mental Health Conference at the White House. I was afraid that it was going to be about gun violence and to be honest didn’t think that it was going to be very beneficial for Americans living with mental illnesses or their family members.

After listening to President Obama speak, I was very encouraged that steps are going to be taken to raise awareness of mental illness,  there will be help for those inflicted with mental illness, steps to erase stigma are being taken, and that finally all of the advocates out there are actually being heard.

This is a huge step!

I was very encouraged to hear about organizations that help with stigma and to help raise awareness be recognized. Most I already knew about, but was happy that they were being recognized.  BringChange2Mind, Active Minds, Giveanhour

I was encouraged to hear about things that are going to be implemented to help those with mental illness, their family members and that education will be available.

President Obama stated that we are not starting a conversation about  mental illness, but elevating it to a national level. He stated that we need to bring mental illness out of the shadows. He wants those dealing with mental illnesses to know they are not alone. He went on to say we no longer should have to whisper about mental health, that the brain is part of the body too, and we need to conquer the embarrassment and the stigma. He emphasized that those with mental illnesses are not alone.

He pointed out that 1 in 5 Americans have a mental illness and that everyone knows someone who has a mental illness. He also pointed out that most people with mental illnesses are not violent.

Some great things that are happening:

  • National broadcasters in July are starting a campaign to let people know that it is ok to talk about it, that help and healing are available, encourage those who need help to get help, and if you know someone who needs help to encourage them to get help
  • YMCA’s 18,000 employees (and 49,000 summer employees) will be trained to recognize the signs of mental illness
  • Skype will be in classrooms connecting students to mental health professionals
  • There is a new resource on the web:
  • It is known that we need to integrate physical and mental health
  • We are going to treat problems with the brain the same way we treat other illnesses
  • That “Check ups from the neck up” will be the norm
  • They will be adding and training mental health providers
  • Steps are being taken to recognize mental illness in our children
  • It is recognized that treatments need to be more available and affordable
  • Seeking out treatment is a sign of strength not weakness
  • Faith leaders are working on plans to learn how to recognize mental illnesses and help those inflicted
  • It was proposed that 60 million more Americans will receive treatment when they look for it.
  • Proposed that insurance will have to provide screening for depression and other mental illnesses
  • Insurances will no longer be able to not treat those with pre-existing conditions of mental illness
  • The government is investing in science to help diagnose mental illness and treat  early
  • It’s encouraged that we continue to have the dialogue about mental illness in all communities
  • They are working on reducing the wait time for veterans to get help “They need to take care of themselves off the battle field too”
  • A goal is that mental issues can be talked about freely
  • For more information on Organizations and Groups involved, click here.

Some shocking statistics that were mentioned:

  • Less than 40% of those with mental illnesses receive treatment-President Obama said that we would not accept this if 40% of those with cancer or diabetes received treatment.  Therefore, we should not do this for mental illnesses
  • We lose 22 veterans a day to suicide
  • 38% of those surveyed would not want to be friends with someone with a mental illness
  •  64% of those surveyed would not want to work closely with someone with schizophrenia
  •  68% of those surveyed wouldn’t want someone with depression to marry into their family

Note: I watched the beginning of the conference and took notes. All the information in this blog is accurate to my knowledge. If you know something is inaccurate, please email me at 

About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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2 Responses to There is Hope: Mental Health Conference at White House

  1. Awesome re-cap of the conference! I was also encouraged to hear the President’s message and call to action and the responses from all the amazing organizations which are working hard to get the message out that there is help available and we need to end stigma.

  2. Pingback: The Launch of a Great Program to Help Kids with Mental Illnesses | Bipolar Bandit

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