Skip Navigation

Summer 2013, Volume 21, Number 3

Collaborating to Increase Understanding

Former Senator Gordon Smith has a very personal reason for wanting to get involved in the new community conversations on mental health: About 10 years ago, he lost his son to suicide.

Today Mr. Smith is president of the National Association of Broadcasters, which announced a new public education campaign at the June 3 White House National Conference on Mental Health. The campaign will use TV, radio, and online ads plus social media to change attitudes about mental illness. "Gordon doesn't want other parents to go through the agonizing loss that he's endured," President Barack Obama explained.

The National Association of Broadcasters isn't the only group to respond to the President's call for action. The YMCA of the USA and American Psychological Association will create tools to help staff who work with young people identify possible problems and take action, for example. The American Medical Association and American Psychiatric Association will share materials to help physicians integrate mental health screenings into their practices. Civic leaders and their philanthropic partners will host facilitated community conversations to discuss how to raise awareness of mental health and make sure community members get the help they need; the first community conversations will take place in Sacramento, Birmingham, Albuquerque, Kansas City, and Washington, DC. Faith groups have also agreed to launch conversations by doing things like including mental health messages in services or bulletin inserts and organizing conference sessions on mental health.

Other parts of the government are getting involved, too. With an average of 22 suicides among veterans every day, the Department of Veterans Affairs plans to hold more than 150 mental health summits across the nation this summer. The goal will be to help service members and veterans understand that taking care of themselves off the battlefield is part of being strong.

Return to "Landmark Mental Health Conference Convened"

Share This Article: