Congressman Patrick Kennedy and Director of NIMH Tom Insel Headline the Event
April 30, 2010 – On April 22, nearly 70 congressional aides and prominent leaders in the mental health field converged on Capitol Hill to hold the first-ever educational briefing on college mental health. Hosted by Active Minds, Inc., the day marked an important milestone in the movement for more resources and support for college student mental health.
Tom Insel, M.D., Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, spoke at the briefing on the importance of making mental health on college campuses a national priority highlighting the fact that many mental health issues first present themselves during the critical college years and greatly impact a students’ ability to succeed both academically and socially. Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) was also in attendance and addressed the mental health implications of the health care reform and expressed his whole-hearted support for Active Minds’ endeavor to raise awareness and promote mental health among college students.
Also represented at the briefing were perspectives from those on the frontlines of the battle to address student mental health. Renee DeVigne, Associate Dean for Student Affairs at George Washington University Law School, spoke from her experiences dealing with the very real presence of mental health issues in higher education and emphasized the effective help that is available for free on most campuses and is often under-utilized. Joe Fraioli, a senior at Ithaca College, gave a moving testimonial on his personal struggles with mental illness and the important work he is doing now as an activist for mental health and chapter president of Active Minds on his campus.
Active Minds called for the support of HR 1250 declaring May as Mental Health Month, SAMHSA reauthorization, continued support for Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act programming, and requested that there be a Congressional Hearing on College Mental Health to bring this crucial topic to the attention of all members of Congress. In addition, Active Minds called for an appropriation to support existing programs and organizations that work to educate students about mental health, encourage students to seek help, and make resources accessible and inviting. Knowing the power of the student voice and the importance of ensuring the next generation of leaders in the field, organizers also emphasized support for initiatives that empower students to use their personal experiences to create campuses nationwide that are supportive of mental health where all students can thrive. And to ensure that our knowledge base continues to grow, Active Minds called for increased funding for relevant research on the onset, prevalence, and treatment of mental health disorders on par with the cost attached to such disorders to society.
About Active Minds, Inc.: Active Minds is the leading voice in college student mental health and supports a rapidly growing network of over 260 student-run chapters on colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. All chapters work to create a campus culture where students feel safe and encouraged to speak openly about mental health and seek help. A national non-profit headquartered in Washington D.C., Active Minds takes a grassroots approach of changing the conversation about mental health one campus at a time. To learn more, visit https://www.activeminds.org.