President's Commission on Mental Health Launches Web Site
President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health launched a new
Web site this spring, mentalhealth.samhsa.gov,
to solicit public comments and provide information. The Commission
also has met three times since the April 29 announcement of its
creation. (See SAMHSA
News, Spring 2002.)
The Commission is charged with conducting a comprehensive study
of the United States mental health service delivery system and advising
President George W. Bush about ways to improve the system. The Commission
supports the President's New Freedom Initiative, which aims to remove
barriers so that people with physical and mental disabilities can
lead full and independent lives within their communities.
New Freedom Commission Chair Michael Hogan and SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie listen intently at one of the first meetings of the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health. (Photo courtesy of Tom Olin)
"The Web site illustrates President Bush's commitment
to ensuring that all voices are heard as the Commission works to
develop a plan to improve the Nation's mental health service
delivery system," said Commission Chair Michael Hogan, Ph.D.
"We want to use the technology available to spread the word
about the Commission's efforts and to gather as much input
as possible from a broad range of stakeholders, including people
with mental illness and their family members, health care providers,
Government agencies, academics, researchers, and others with knowledge
about mental health."
In addition to learning about the Commission's mission,
leadership, and schedule of meetings, people who log on to the Web
site will be able to submit comments and suggestions about the current
mental health system and ideas for improvements.
Although all relevant comments are of interest and may be submitted
to the Commission at any time, several topics will be listed on
the Web site for public comment. The topics will change periodically,
focusing first on identifying problems and barriers within the system,
and later on identifying solutions. All comments will be most helpful
to the Commission if received by December 31, 2002.
Comments may also be mailed to the Commission or presented in
person during the public comment period held at every Commission
meeting. The Web site provides specific guidelines and instructions
for people interested in speaking before the Commission.
The Commission's first three meetings, held in June, July, and
August, included the formalization of a work plan, testimony from
the representatives of prominent mental health organizations, testimony
by consumers of mental health services, and presentations by experts
in the field. Presentation topics included evidence-based practices,
children's mental health issues, cultural competence, and employment
and income support, as well as descriptions of the 1999 report,
Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General, and the
2001 Institute of Medicine report, Crossing the Quality Chasm.
For more information, visit mentalhealth.samhsa.gov.
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