Presidential Proclamation — National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2015


Presidential Proclamation — National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2015


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This year, approximately one in five American adults — our friends, colleagues, and loved ones — will experience a diagnosable mental health condition like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or post-traumatic stress, and many others will be troubled by significant emotional and psychological distress, especially in times of difficulty.  For most of these people, treatment can be effective and recovery is possible.  Yet today, millions of Americans still do not receive the care they need.  This month, we stand with those who live with mental illness, and we recommit to ensuring all Americans have access to quality, affordable care.

In the past decade, our Nation has made extraordinary progress in recognizing severe psychological distress and diagnosing and treating mental illness, and my Administration is committed to building on that success.  The Affordable Care Act extends mental health and substance use disorder benefits and parity protections to over 60 million Americans.  Protections under the law also prohibit insurers from denying coverage because of pre-existing conditions like a diagnosis of mental illness and require most insurance plans to cover recommended preventive services without copays, including behavioral assessments for children and depression screenings.  As part of the BRAIN Initiative, we are funding innovative research that aims to revolutionize our understanding of conditions that affect the brain, such as mental health disorders, and to improve the lives of all who live with them.  And we continue to invest in community health centers, enabling them to expand access to mental health services where they are needed most.

As Americans, we have a sacred obligation to provide those who suffer from the invisible wounds of war with the support they have earned.  Earlier this year, I was proud to sign the Clay Hunt SAV Act, which authorized additional steps to address mental health and prevent suicide among veterans.  This law will build on my Administration’s ongoing work to bolster mental health services for service members, veterans, and their families.  We recently established a new policy that will ensure the continuity of mental health medications during service members’ transitions to care at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and we took action to make certain those receiving mental health care are connected to mental health professionals as they transition to the VA or a community provider.  My Administration has also worked to increase the number of counselors available to our veterans and to expand the capacity of the Veterans Crisis Line.

Despite how common it is to experience severe psychological distress, substance use problems, and mental illness, there is still considerable stigma associated with mental health treatment.  This month, we must bring mental illness out of the shadows and encourage treatment for those who might benefit; it is our shared responsibility to recognize the signs of psychological and emotional distress and to support those in need.  We must strive to remove the stigma around mental illness and its treatment, overcome fear and misunderstanding, and make sure all those dealing with a mental health issue know they are not alone.  Asking for help is not a sign of weakness — taking action to help yourself is a sign of strength.  If you or someone you know is in need of immediate assistance, call 1-800-662-HELP.  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline also offers immediate assistance for all Americans, including service members and veterans, at 1-800-273-TALK.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2015 as National Mental Health Awareness Month.  I call upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to raise mental health awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand fifteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-ninth.


5 thoughts on “Presidential Proclamation — National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2015

  1. Yesterday I started reading a new blog written by a mother who admits she’s suicidal.
    When I supplied the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number to her twice via her blog & urged her to call them or even do a live chat, she replied “there is no help” and “she doesn’t need help”. I wrote back that there IS help, it’s okay to admit you need help, and that she deserves to feel better. There was only so much I could do as it’s an anonymous blog.

    There are many other mothers like this mother suffering with severe mental illness who don’t have the support systems & medical care that you and I are blessed with. Of course what happens is they lose hope.

    While it’s truly wonderful that President Obama proclaimed May as Mental Health Awareness Month (I adore President Obama & the First Lady and I’m so happy they’re focusing on mental health issues) I’m reminded how our society is devoid of easy-access, free mental health resources and how much insidious stigma still affects our country.

    I felt such joy earlier today when I saw the photo of President Obama signing the proclamation, but after the exchange I had with the blogger I feel sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes very sad😒 yes I agree we are lucky to have access to good medical care. Wow I hope you helped her and she got some care that she needed. I hope she thinks about her children before she does anything. How stressful for you as well! Nothing is easy, life is not easy. We just have to keep trying as hard as we can. Love and hugs.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks honey!

        Unfortunately, I doubt I helped her. I had to stop reading her blog as it was too triggering. When she wrote “I don’t need help” I knew that I couldn’t help her. I do what I can, but sometimes I must draw the line, and I felt like sh*t for doing that, to be honest. It’s not like I sit on my ass and eat bon bons….I run a support group for women and that’s how I can help the most. When it comes to the internet and someone anonymous states she doesn’t “need or want help”, yet she can figure out how to blog and post photos of her children I can’t handle it. I’m not proud for admitting this, but I became so upset by her blog that I had to stop following it and I decided focus on other things. 😦 You are so right – nothing is easy; life is not easy! How I wish it was! I’ll keep trying as you wisely advise and I know you will too.
        Thank you, my friend, for your support and love!! Your words lifted my spirits as always…… XOOXOOXOXOOXOX

        Liked by 1 person

      • Love you girl! And you tried to help, but the woman was not accepting of your help. I would have had a very difficult time with this too. I hope she gets help and for the sake of her kids, doesn’t do anything destructive. Ugh, awful. You tried to help her, maybe she was able to comprehend just a tiny bit of what you said. Lets hope so, and lets work on ourselves to never get to that place in our lives, for the sake of our children and all our loved ones. xxxxoooo

        Liked by 1 person

      • I love you too! I wrote the Suicide Prevention phone number for her in two separate comments & their website link too…maybe it’ll sink into her subconscious, and perhaps in a “what the hell”-type moment, she’ll call them or chat online and shift her thinking! She kept writing about how much she loved her kids, and of course I suggested she make the call for them as well as for her… never know, right? I’m hoping a miracle comes into her life asap. And yes, you and I can’t allow ourselves to get to that hopeless place….no way, no how! We’ve been through more than enough! XOXO to you and yours, beautiful Samina!!


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