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Hope In Action: Policymakers and Artists Promote Youth and Latino Suicide Prevention
Date:3/12/2008

Celebrating passage of Mental Health Parity on Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON, March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Kristin Brooks Hope Center, To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) with the Mental Health Liaison Group will hold a press conference, "Hope In Action," on Capitol Hill in room B369 Rayburn House Office Building. It will highlight the passage of The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act, an important civil rights victory that begins to end the blatant discriminatory practices of private insurance companies who have applied arbitrary limits on what mental health and addictions treatment diagnoses would be covered, and further placed discriminatory limits on the types and lengths of services provided. This celebration occurs as the Kristin Brooks Hope Center celebrates the ten year anniversary of its suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-SUICIDE , which to date has answered more three million calls from individuals in crisis and is credited for directly saving more than 5,000 lives.

The March 12 press conference will emphasize that the battle for full equity for individuals with behavioral health disorders is far from over as the beginning of 1-800-SUICIDA is launched. This suicide prevention hotline will provide hope for millions of Spanish speaking individuals by providing suicide prevention counseling and provide community referrals for behavioral health and other supportive services in Spanish.

The special needs of youths will also be emphasized with a call for full funding of the Garret Lee Smith Memorial Act. This legislation, signed into law on October 21, 2004, created a program within Health And Human Services to enhance suicide prevention efforts at the state and local level and on college campuses. "This year, members of Congress are calling for 48.8 million for the Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act programs in the Fiscal Year 2009 appropriations bill" said Reese Butler, founder of 1-800-SUICIDE. "Congress must build on that investment in children's mental health and fully fund this important law."

National, state and community organizations, as well as private industries, are working hard to prevent youth suicide. In fact, the Kristin Brooks Hope Center is partnering with To Write Love On Her Arms to produce the Hope In Action Tour, which will be launched tomorrow to help educate youth about depression and suicide. The tour, which will include a number of well- regarded rock bands, will travel to 20 universities and colleges nationwide in the fall of 2008. Synclive.com is joining the Hope In Action Tour by live streaming the concerts and helping KBHC and TWLOHA to reduce the stigma associated with mental illness and suicide.

The Kristin Brooks Hope Center has proven leadership in the effort to prevent youth suicide by advocating increased investment in children's mental health services and research and passage of The Paul Wellstone Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act in addition to creating direct services programs. Its newest program will be dedicated tomorrow by Congresswoman Grace Napolitano - 1-800-SUICIDA (784-2432), which connects Spanish-speaking callers directly to Spanish speaking and bi-cultural call takers.

"Stakeholders-including KBHC, TWLOHA, Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, a key leader in the Mental Health Liaison Group, have demonstrated by the passage of behavioral health parity, the positive results that can occur when we unite our advocacy efforts," said Reese Butler, President and Founder of Kristin Brooks Hope Center. "It is time that federal investments match public outcry and private-sector efforts." Mental Health Liaison Group and Kristin Brooks Hope Center will call for the continued full funding of the Community Partnership Block Grants administered through the Center for Mental Health Services.

Participants at the press conference will include Co-Chair of the Mental Health Caucus and Chair of the Latino Caucus Congresswoman Grace Napolitano (D-CA 38th), Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), founder of Postsecret.com Frank Warren, Karen Bower, Senior Staff Attorney at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law, and Founder and CEO of Synclive.com Aric Berquist.

For copies of speaker presentations, please contact Reese Butler, 202-669-8500 or Reese@hopeline.com.

The Kristin Brooks Hope Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to suicide prevention, intervention and healing: by providing a single point of entry to community-based crisis services through innovative telephony and internet based technologies; by bringing national attention and access to services for post partum depression and other women's mood disorders; through education and advocacy; through formal research and evaluation of crisis line services; and, by championing the need for national funding for community- based suicide prevention crisis services.

Mental Health Liaison Group which is comprised of over 50 national organizations representing consumer, family members, advocates, professionals and providers promotes and protects funding and services for individuals with mental health and addictions disorders and their families.


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SOURCE The Kristin Brooks Hope Center; Mental Health LiaisonGroup
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