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On Inauguration Day, NAMI Calls for Addressing Mental Health: the Silent Epidemic within the Pandemic

On Inauguration Day, NAMI Calls for Addressing Mental Health: the Silent Epidemic within the Pandemic

Jan 20, 2021


Arlington, Va. — As the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) congratulates President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris on their inauguration today. NAMI looks forward to working with the new administration to build better lives for the millions of people in our country who are affected by mental illness.

More people than ever are experiencing anxiety and depression for the first time because of the challenges related to COVID-19, economic hardship and racial injustice. The demand for mental health services is increasing. We are in the midst of alarming mental health, substance use and suicide challenges that are taxing an already fragmented system of care.

Last week, President Biden announced the American Rescue Plan, which includes significant investments that would help people with mental health conditions. In addition to proposals that will help people access mental health care and focus on their wellness, including expanding health care subsidies, extending the eviction moratorium and providing emergency housing assistance, the plan specifically addresses the country’s mental health needs during this crisis. The plan calls for an additional $4 billion to help people access mental health and substance use care.

“We need to alleviate the pain and suffering of millions of Americans by increasing access to quality mental health and substance use interventions,” said Daniel H. Gillison Jr., CEO of NAMI. “More people—including our nation’s youth and first responders—are reporting their mental health is worse than it was a year ago. NAMI applauds the President’s call for substantial resources to expand access to mental health and substance use services.”

To further address the growing mental health epidemic within the pandemic, NAMI urges the Biden administration to prioritize a cross-agency effort to help people get on the path to recovery. We hope the new administration will use the Unified Vision for Transforming Mental Health and Substance Use Care, developed in partnership with 14 of the nation’s leading mental health organizations, as a roadmap to changing the paradigm for mental health care in our country. To achieve this vision, we must institute policies, programs and standards that value the critical importance of mental health. We must intentionally address the inequities in care and unacceptable disparities in outcomes that result from systemic racism and discrimination. We must invest in comprehensive system solutions that promote mental wellness for all.

Together, NAMI looks forward to working with President Biden and his administration to find solutions that help everyone get the mental health support they need.

NAMI Athens Recognizes Local Schools

NAMI Athens Recognizes Local Schools

Written by: Alan Johnson, NAMI Ohio 

It turned out 2020 was a banner year for Athens County schools.

While the COVID-19 pandemic seriously affected all students and teachers, the National Alliance on Mental Illness Athens affiliate wanted to recognize the strength and resilience of their area schools by presenting special banners to all schools in Athens County.

Gregory Polzer, a former teacher, adviser to the NAMI Board, and member of the Athens-Hocking-Vinton Alcohol Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, came up with the idea of creating banners to show appreciation for schools helping students, teachers, parents and the community during these difficult times. Polzer said he hoped the signs would “put a smile on all their faces every time they read the banner.”

The NAMI Athens board worked with Performance Signs in Athens to create customized 3 foot by 4 foot banners that included each school’s school colors and mascots. The banners were distributed to every school in Athens County, including the vocational- technical high school and school for handicapped students.

NAMI arranged delivery dates of the colorful banners with superintendents of each school district. At the presentation, Polzer and others spoke of the appreciation for the schools’ effort during trying times and the importance of mental health care