Engaging Politicians in Meaningful Conversation About Mental Health: An Effective Format

July 30, 2014 9:59 PM

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Everyone knows someone who has struggled with mental illness. There was a time, not so long ago, when mental illness was considered strictly private and was discussed mostly behind closed doors. Today, there is growing awareness of the terrible toll mental illness exacts on individuals, families, and the community at large. The news abounds with stories about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in veterans, teen suicide, drug abuse, guns and violence, the social impact of casinos and marijuana legalization, and challenges to access to mental health care for children and families. In an effort to engage politicians in meaningful conversation about these subjects, Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology convened the 2014 Massachusetts Gubernatorial Forum on Mental Health and asked me to lead the effort.

I felt honored to offer welcoming remarks at the Forum and to introduce the moderator, Tom Ashbrook, the nationally renowned host of WBUR's "On Point." Republican candidate Charlie Baker and Democratic candidates Don Berwick, Martha Coakley, and Steve Grossman shared center stage. Yet this was not a...

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