October 9, 2015

Cassidy, Murphy Introduce Resolution Designating October 10th As “World Mental Health Day”

WASHINGTON— U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT), co-authors of the Mental Health Reform Act, introduced a bipartisan resolution recognizing October 10th as “World Mental Health Day.” The resolution brings light to the importance of mental health services and initiatives that are largely overlooked.

“Whenever I speak of mental health, all heads nod yes. It’s non-partisan, it cuts across all social demographics, everyone knows someone who is affected by mental illness,” Cassidy said. “I’m old enough to remember when people would not speak of cancer. For some reason, there’s a similar stigma and shame associated with speaking of mental illness. The time has come and gone to address that stigma. I thank Senator Murphy for joining me in introducing the Mental Health Reform Act to fix our broken mental health system. Let’s continue talking about this—Let’s talk about how we can help millions of broken families by fixing it.”

“Too many children and adults with mental health needs do not get the care they need to live healthy and productive lives. We turn a blind eye to the tens of millions of people needing mental health treatment around the world. We ignore the 3,000 suicide deaths that occur each day, and do nothing to address the fact that 25% of the global population will experience a mental disorder in their lifetime,” said Murphy. “It’s my hope that World Mental Health Day drives urgent attention to this epidemic. It’s past time we build treatment capacity and integrate care so that individuals can treat both their mind and body, and expand the mental health workforce to improve mental health systems around the world.” 

Cassidy and Murphy, both members of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, introduced the bipartisanMental Health Reform Act in August. The bill will comprehensively overhaul and strengthen America’s mental health care system by making critical reforms to address a lack of resources, enhance coordination, and develop meaningful solutions to improve outcomes for families dealing with mental illness.

Read the text of the resolution, S.RES.284, here and below:

Recognizing the importance of mental health globally and highlighting the contributions and value of mental health, psychosocial support, and human capacity, particularly in development contexts and humanitarian settings.

Whereas on October 10, 2015, World Mental Health Day is observed;

Whereas mental health is essential to achieve the full potential of an individual and mental health disorders can affect the ability of an individual to carry out daily tasks, establish or maintain relationships, or pursue other fundamental endeavors;

Whereas mental health disorders and substance use disorders are the leading causes of disability globally;

Whereas depression is the third leading cause of disease burden globally, and by 2030, depression will be the highest cause of disease burden in low-income countries and the second highest cause of disease burden in middle-income countries;

Whereas depression has a particularly negative impact on women, for whom depression is the leading cause of disease burden independent of the income level of their countries of residence;

Whereas approximately 3,000 suicide deaths occur each day globally;

Whereas for each completed suicide, 20 more individuals attempt to commit suicide;

Whereas up to 90 percent of individuals who commit suicide have a diagnosable mental health disorder;

Whereas serious and persistent mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, affects up to 7 percent of the population of the world and is extremely debilitating;

Whereas the global cost of mental health disorders was $2,500,000,000,000 in 2010, and is projected to increase to more than $6,000,000,000,000 by 2030, but the total amount of development assistance for global mental health was only $134,000,000 between 2007 and 2013, less than 1 percent of all development assistance;

Whereas in high-income countries, approximately 1⁄2 of individuals afflicted with mental health disorders do not receive appropriate mental health care;

Whereas in low-income countries, approximately 85 percent to 90 percent of individuals afflicted with mental health disorders do not receive appropriate mental health care;

Whereas traumatic events and losses are common experiences, especially among refugees and internally displaced individuals, and may—

double the incidence of mental health disorders;

result in intense suffering and dysfunction; and

require mental health treatment;

Whereas integrating mental health and psychosocial support into health and social sectors improves the health, economic development, and political stability of the population, builds the capacity of staff and health facilities, and creates non-stigmatizing mental health services; and

Whereas there is an urgent need to create readily-accessible, high-quality mental health services in line with national and global guidelines by designing and implementing comprehensive programs that are culturally, developmentally, and linguistically appropriate, building local human resource capacity, and strengthening health systems: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Senate—

recognizes the importance of World Mental Health Day;

affirms the continued support of the United States for making resources available to provide mental health services and build capacity across countries and income levels, in particular in countries affected by conflict and crisis;

honors the importance of trained mental health workers as they enhance human well-being and mental health, restore functioning, and save lives by ensuring the availability of high-quality, context-relevant mental health and psychosocial support services;

calls on the Secretary of State, the Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development, and the heads of other relevant agencies to integrate mental health and psychosocial support services into programs, funding opportunities, and budget allocations in order to improve the overall quality of life of individuals living with mental health disorders; and

commends the dedication of organizations, professionals, and volunteers globally who work to improve the mental health of all individuals, and the important contributions and bravery of individuals globally who live with or have overcome mental health disorders.