for Mental Health (NIMH)
Defining mental illness is part of what the National Institute
for Mental Health does. The NIMH, an arm of the U.S. Department
of Health and Human Services, describes symptoms, diagnoses and
treatments of mental illnesses. It also provides statistics and
research papers on mental health issues.
for Mental Health Services' Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN)
The Center offers a variety of information about mental health
in English and in Spanish. Order free publications, search KEN's
referral database, read mental health news and explore links on
a variety of mental health-related topics.
Read the Surgeon General's extensive report summarizing the nation's
mental health problem.
For a global perspective, read the World Health Organization's
2001 annual report, which is devoted to mental health and the
widening "treatment gap" around the world. The report cites that
more than 40 percent of countries have no mental health policy
and 90 percent have no policy that includes children and adolescents.
Public Radio: Simulations of Mental Illness
This feature story (August 29, 2002) looks at a virtual reality
program that allows participants to see and hear the world through
the eyes and ears of a person with schizophrenic illness. You
can download a multimedia slide show of highlights of a schizophrenic
Public Radio: The Infinite Mind
This weekly show focuses on the art and science of the human mind,
spirit, behavior and mental health. You can access an archive
of past episodes that cover themes including mental illness in
the family, men and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder
and memories of war, teen suicide, and schizophrenia. The program
is hosted by former NIMH Director Dr. Fred Goodwin.
A Brilliant Madness
PBS's American Experience features John Nash, a Nobel Prize-winning
mathematician who struggled with mental illness, and the Web site
provides a forum for questions and answers on illness and recovery
with mental health experts, as well as a history of mental health
treatment dating back to 400 b.c.
Mental Health Information Center
This information clearinghouse, part of the Substance Abuse and
Mental Health Services Administration, was developed for users
of mental health services and their families, the general public,
policy makers, mental health providers, and the media. The center
is also a clearinghouse for federal grants and conferences and
other events. Its Web site includes how-to publications on mental
health recovery, including dealing with trauma, speaking out for
yourself, building self-esteem, self-help, client rights and action-planning
It's estimated that more than 500,000 homeless adults nationwide
are in need of mental health and/or substance abuse treatment.
In addition, nearly 16 percent of the U.S. jail population has
a mental disorder. Many people regard both homelessness and the
increasing criminalization of people who have mental illness as
a consequence of the deinstitutionalization of psychiatric hospitals
and of a shortage of community-based care.
Resource Center on Homelessness and Mental Illness
The Center provides fact sheets and publications on homelessness
and mental illness.
Health Care for the Homeless Council: Healing Hands
Download a report published by the Council subtitled "Mental Illness,
Chronic Homelessness: An American Disgrace," on the causes and
consequences of homelessness and the mentally ill.
The national grant program, Projects Assistance in Transition
From Homelessness, funds community-based outreach, mental
health, substance abuse, case management and other support services,
as well as some housing services. Search the online database for
state by state contact information and a list of PATH providers
in your county.
This is an overview of the Program for Assertive Community Treatment,
a service-delivery model that many mental health and homeless
outreach programs are based on.
for Supportive Housing (CSH)
This national, non-profit organization assists communities to
create and operate quality permanent supportive housing for people
who are homeless and also face the challenges of conditions such
as mental illness, HIV/AIDS, and chemical dependency. CSH provides
technical and financial assistance through their offices and national
Project: Mentally Ill Offenders and the Criminal Justice System
The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group that promotes decreased
reliance on incarceration and increased use of alternatives, produced
this report, which analyzes factors that have contributed to the
vast numbers of incarcerated individuals who have mental illness
and offers recommendations for more effective policies and services
at each stage of the criminal justice system.
Costs: Criminal Justice and Mental Health System Gaps
This paper by Harold E. Shabo, supervising judge of mental health
departments for the Superior Court of California in Los Angeles
County, details the criminalization of persons with mental illness,
discussing factors that contribute to the trend and possible solutions.
A Crime of Insanity
This installment of the PBS series Frontline tells the story of
Ralph Tortorici, who while suffering from schizophrenia took a
classroom full of students hostage. The documentary charts his
tortuous path through the criminal justice system, and the Web
site includes interview transcripts, trial testimony and other
court documents. The site also includes a feature on 100 pilot
mental health courts in the country and offers statistics and
information on national trends relating to jailed and imprisoned
individuals who have mental illness.
There are hundreds of grassroots mental health consumer organizations
across the country, and no single organization speaks for all
consumers. The term "mental health consumer" isn't even uniformly
accepted. Some identify themselves as survivors, others as ex-patients.
In the 1970s, a movement of consumers, survivors and ex-patients
was born, as they organized early groups, such as the Alliance
for the Liberation of Mental Patients, the Insane Liberation Front,
and Project Release, meeting in homes and churches to gain better
access to services. Many stayed connected nationally through a
newsletter called Madness Network News. Soon consumers began running
their own support groups and services, and they created co-op
housing and drop-in centers. In the mid-1980s, differences in
consumer views resulted in the creation of two leading national
organizations, the National Mental Health Consumers Association,
and the National Association of Mental Patients, the latter of
which mostly differentiated itself in by its members' opposition
to all forms of involuntary treatment.
Mental Health Consumers' Self-Help Clearinghouse
This consumer-run national technical assistance center helps connect
individuals to self-help and advocacy resources.
Empowerment Center: Leaders in Recovery
Laurie Ahern and Daniel Fisher, M.D., Ph.D., co-directors of the
National Empowerment Center, share stories of recovery and of
their work as advocates.
Chamberlin: On Our Own
Read an excerpt from former mental health patient Judi Chamberlin's
1978 book, a benchmark in the history of the consumer movement.
Empowerment Center: Consumer/Survivor History Project
To address the lack of survivor voices in the histories already
written about mental health history, the National Empowerment
Center is collecting former patients' firsthand accounts, as well
as artifacts such as graffiti on seclusion room walls, patient
art, patient diaries, and correspondence.
Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems
NAPAS is the nationwide umbrella organization for the Protection
and Advocacy Systems (P&As) and Client Assistance Programs (CAPs)
of all U.S. states. P&As and CAPs comprise the nationwide network
of federally funded, legally-based disability rights agencies
mandated by Congress that assist people with mental and developmental
disabilities in understanding and asserting their rights. The
NAPAS Web site includes contact information for each state's agencies.
Family members of consumers are often affected too, as they work
to understand mental illness and help their loved ones through
treatment and recovery. A "family movement" also dates back to
the 1970s. It sprang out of a lack of available services and the
past tendency of the mental health establishment to blame parents
for the mental illness of their children. Family advocates today
are a powerful lobby for mental health legislation and funding,
as well as a strong voice for the expansion of community-based
Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)
What started out as a small cadre of families in Wisconsin in
1979 has grown into a more than 200,000-member-strong organization
today advocating for persons with severe and persistent mental
illness. NAMI heads up its own policy institute and also operates
family groups for self-help and education through its network
of state and local affiliates, organized in an online database.
Its Web site also includes facts and figures on mental illness
and treatment. You can subscribe to NAMI's electronic Stigma Alerts
and its E-News.
Mental Health Association (NMHA)
The NMHA is the country's oldest mental health awareness and advocacy
of Families for Children's Mental Health
This national parent-run organization focuses on the needs of
children and youth with emotional, behavioral or mental disorders
and their families. Its Web site features a directory of local
chapters and tip sheets on how parents can get involved in policy
Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation
CABF is a parent-led, not-for-profit, web-based membership organization
of families raising children diagnosed with, or at risk for, early-onset
these resources to stay informed on federal and state level policy
New Freedom Commission on Mental Health
This commission was created in 2002 to formulate an action plan
for the president to improve the mental health service system
in the United States. Read the commission's report, based on testimony
from more than 1,000 stakeholders nationwide, and watch for its
final recommendations to the White House in spring 2003.
Carter Center Mental Health Program
Functioning in partnership with Emory University, the center,
chaired by former President Jimmy Carter, runs an advocacy program
that focuses on mental health policy and issues related to stigma
and discrimination associated with mental illness. Former First
Lady Rosalynn Carter, a mental health advocate since the 1970s,
started the program in 1991 and every November since, has convened
an annual symposium on mental health. The symposium examines such
issues as assuring quality in mental health care, mental health
and illness in the workplace, privacy and confidentiality of patient
information, and promoting healthy behaviors in children. The
center also awards mental health fellowships to eight journalists
Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law
Check out federal legislative updates and alerts by the national
legal advocacy group's site.
The 1975 U.S. Supreme Court case, involving a Florida state hospital
patient who complained he had been kept in custody against his
will for nearly 15 years, was a landmark case establishing the
civil rights of the mentally ill.
Review other historic U.S. Supreme Court decisions related to
Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
This is the federal agency charged with improving the quality
and availability of prevention, treatment and rehabilitative services
in order to reduce illness, death, disability and cost to society
resulting from substance abuse and mental illness. The Center
for Mental Health Services, one of three SAMHSA Web-based centers,
heads efforts to speed the application of treatment for persons
who have mental illness. Some of the center's special initiatives
include Rural Mental Health, School Violence Prevention, Faith-Based
Mental Health Initiatives and Refugee Mental Health.
On June 22, 1999, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the
Americans With Disabilities Act may require states to provide
community-based services rather than institutional placements
for individuals with physical and mental disabilities, on the
basis that unjustified segregation in institutions severely curtails
everyday life and perpetuates assumptions that people with disabilities
are incapable or unworthy of participating in community life.
Read an analysis of the decision and get background on the case.
Links to the court opinion and final settlement are also included.
The media is the public's primary source of information about
mental illness, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
survey, and yet movies, television and newspapers too often reinforce
stereotypes of people with mental illness, rather than dispel
Stigma Clearinghouse: Anti-Stigma Homepage
The National Stigma Clearinghouse tracks negative stereotypes
of mental illnesses in news, advertising and entertainment and
provides information, including a sample letter to the editor,
to fight discrimination and stigma. The clearinghouse also posts
examples of "positive visibility."
and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
Published online by FAIR, the article "Mindless and Deadly" looks
at media hype of mental illness and violence.
This is a webzine on social justice and human rights in mental
State University Public Broadcasting: Erase the Stigma
This project of WPSU was designed to raise awareness of and encourage
dialogue about mental illnesses and its impact on Central Pennsylvania.
Read or listen to a series of commentaries produced and delivered
by consumers, family members, and mental health professionals.
Journalism Review: Covering Mental Health
This resource guide for reporters and editors produced by the
Columbia Journalism Review includes a list of leading experts
in mental health.
Mental Health in Schools at UCLA
This center is one of two national training and technical assistance
centers in a major initiative, the School Mental Health Project,
to improve how schools address barriers to learning and enhance
healthy development. Related resource materials are available
on its Web site.
Mental Health and Education Center
This information and action network of the National Association
of School Psychologists is dedicated to fostering best practices
in education and mental health for children and families. The
center works to improve the professional training and practices
of school psychologists and pupil service providers, and its Web
site includes a national survey of the most effective school-based
mental health programs.
Center for Health and Health Care in Schools
This center, affiliated with George Washington University, helps
create state and local partnerships to establish health centers
and mental health services in the schools. It tests model programs,
analyzes policy options for organizing and financing programs,
and advises government officials and school leaders on how to
provide cost-effective and accountable health programs in schools.
The site includes state fact sheets containing available information
on the funding, history and status of school-based health centers
in each state.
The world's largest psychiatric association represents 38,000
psychiatric physicians worldwide. The Web site includes membership
information, a job bank and a residency clearinghouse and reports
on patient safety and successful alternatives to the use of restraints
Association of Social Workers
The largest membership organization of professional social workers
in the world, with nearly 150,000 members, is dedicated to enhancing
the professional growth and development of its members, creating
and maintaining professional standards, and advancing sound social
policies. One of its eight practice-specific newsletters is focused
on mental health. NASW's Web-based registry of clinical social
workers, aiming to facilitate improved inter- and intra-professional
referrals and consultations, includes more than 4,600 listings.
Click on About NASW for links to local chapters.
for Mental Health
This organization coordinates National Depression Screening Day
(NDSD), the community outreach and education program created in
1991 and held each year during Mental Illness Awareness Week to
educate the public about symptoms and effective treatments and
to connect those in need of treatment with services. This year,
NDSD is scheduled for October 9, 2003. Registered sites receive
a screening day toolkit, including a step-by-step procedure manual,
screening forms, and educational and publicity materials. Follow-up
studies indicate that as many as 65 percent of those who score
positive in screenings and who are referred for a full evaluation
follow through on the recommendation. The Web site includes a
state-by-state site locator and information on how to register
as a new site.
of Mental Health Clients
This is the country's first mental health consumer-run state organization
in the country. Search its statewide directory of client-run groups,
and read legislative action alerts, policy papers, and a calendar
of upcoming events.
Department of Mental Health
Access information on state health laws and regulations, community
mental health services, and state hospitals.
Health Association of California
The association tracks breaking news on state legislation related
to mental health and provides online reports.
on Homelessness in San Francisco
You can find information on San Francisco's mental health system,
as well as facts on homeless deaths and substance abuse on the
city's streets. Read about the coalition's substance abuse and
mental health work and about the group's lobbying efforts for
mental health reform.
Angeles Coalition to End Hunger and Homelessness
The coalition's Mental Health Policy Project is working to replicate
a Safe Haven facility that provides housing and services to homeless
mentally ill people in west Los Angeles and is developing a how-to
manual and Web site for other communities to follow.
Office of Patients' Rights
Part of Protection and Advocacy Inc. (PAI), the office contracts
with the California Department of Mental Health to ensure adherence
to mental health laws and the rights of patients. The office has
direct advocacy services on-site at four state hospitals, and
responds to patients' complaints.
Read the section of the California Welfare and Institutions Code
-- which led to the deinstitutionalization of people who have
a mental illness -- that outlines patients' rights and the conditions
under which people can be treated involuntarily in the state of
Little Hoover Commission
California's independent oversight agency that investigates state
government operations reported on the state of the mental health
system in "Being There: Making a Commitment to Mental Health."
Association of Mental Health Patients' Rights Advocates
Access general legal resources and a patient advocacy manual.
Hope and the Street Web site and discussion forums are provided
solely for educational and informational purposes. As such, they
are not meant to provide professional medical advice, counseling
or services. Only a qualified medical professional who is familiar
with your particular circumstances can provide specific guidance
regarding your health questions and we encourage you to ask your
doctor or health care provider any questions you may have relating
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