Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Statewide Support for Rep. Patrick Kennedy

Yesterday's Projo featured a full -age ad, "Rhode Islanders Respect & Support Congressman Patrick Kennedy." No link since it was an ad so I will will copy:

Congressman Patrick Kennedy has been appropriately forthcoming about his struggles with substance abuse & bipolar disorder, both in the past & recently. He has dedicated much of his public service career to reducing the stigma of mental illnesses & to fighting for better access to mental health treatment. As a well-known public figure, his openness regarding his own difficulties & challenges is an important contribution in the ongoing effort to destigmatize mental illness & remove the secrecy & shame that often accompanies these disorders.

Substance abuse is a disorder that affects more than 20 million Amercians. Addictions have a neurobiological basis & individuals with substance abuse disorders need treatment to live full, productive lives. Substance abuse treatment is available & effective, but not enough people seek it; less than one in ten Americans with alcohol or drug abuse problems receive the help they need. Patrick Kennedy's entry into intensive treatment provides an excellent model for others who are dealing with an addiction.

Patrick Kennedy has been a tireless and effective advocate for persons living with mental illness, and the issues that impact upon their ability to receive timely & effective treatment - both within Rhode Island & nationally. No elected official in the country has been more outspoken on behalf of reducing stigma, gaining parity for mental illness, increasing access to mental health treatment, and furthering the science of the brain. At a time when many politicans ignore, misunderstand or mok mental illness, Patrick Kennedy's strong voice has been a welcome, energizing contrast for those of us in the mental health field.

With many national organizations and leaders, we Rhode Islanders suport Congressman Patrick Kennedy in his recovery & welcome his return to public service.

This letter was signed by 50 groups & individuals. Among the local signers were: The Boards & Staff of Child & Family Services, J. Clement Cicilline, the Board & Staff of CODAC, The Board & Staff of the Newport Co. Community Mental Health Centers, Board & Staff of East Bay Mental Health Ctr. Many other statewide groups also joined.

A note on the Newport Co. Mental Health Ctr. on Valley Rd. There is a note on the outside door there that those wishing to keep needed funding should call "their" Senator- Paiva-Weed. However, Their actual Senator in District 12 (and one we have not heard a word from regarding the Governor's proposed budget slashing of various social services for the neediest) is June Gibbs.

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