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SAMHSA News - Volume X, No. 3, Summer 2002
 

President's Commission on Mental Health Launches Web Site

President's New Freedom Commission On Mental Health logoThe 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.

photo of New Freedom Commission Chair Michael Hogan and SAMHSA Administrator Charles G. Curie
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. End of Article

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    SAMHSA News

    SAMHSA News - Volume X, No. 3, Summer 2002




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