MEDIA ADVISORY for Monday, January 26, 2004, 9:00 AM EST
Contact: Michael Ross, 800-598-5653; Jaymie Gustafson, 703-741-7506
Leaders Criticize Threatened Mental Health Service Budget Cuts, Call for Statewide Plan
West Virginia is First State in New National Campaign
NAMI-WV and more than thirty partner organizations are kicking off West Virginia Mental/Behavioral Health Awareness Day today at the capital in Charleston by criticizing threatened budget cuts that would deny access to treatments and services to people living with mental disorders and calling for a statewide plan for mental health services.
The event also marks the first state launch of the “Campaign for the Mind of America,” a multi-year national and state-level initiative to increase access to mental health treatment and services and show the effects of untreated mental illness on every community. The Campaign works to create unique partnerships between those acting as the front line in the current mental health treatment system crisis -- law enforcement, education, health care and business.
Although budget cuts may result in short-term savings, the long-term impact of untreated mental disorders is far greater. A report from the U.S. Surgeon General estimated that untreated mental disorders cost the nation more than $70 billion annually to lost productivity. When the diverted resources of those in law enforcement, education, and health care are added, the cost rises to more than $100 billion per year.
Mental Health/Behavioral Health Awareness Day and launch of the NAMI-WV Campaign for the Mind of America
Mike Fitzpatrick, Acting Executive Director and Policy Director, NAMI
Michael Ross, Executive Director, NAMI-West Virginia
Senate Rep. Roman Prezioso, Chairman, Senate Health and Human Resources Committee
House Del. Don Perdue, Chairman of the House Health and Human Resources Committee
Senate Minority Leader Vic Sprouse
Senate Rep. Jon Hunter
Recognition of Campaign partner and guest Vivian Parsons, Executive Director for County Commissioners’ Association of West Virginia
Upper rotunda, State Capital, Charleston, West Virginia