Comedian and "Deal or No Deal" game show host Howie Mandel was among those who spoke out about the need to reduce the stigma associated with mental health care at a May 8 congressional briefing.
As one of four consumer speakers at the briefing, Mandel detailed his lifelong struggle with obsessive-compulsive disorder and described how the stigma surrounding mental health problems kept him from seeking help for his condition for much of his life.
The briefing marked the National Children's Mental Health Awareness Day, established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to raise awareness of effective programs for children's mental health needs.
The event coincided with the release of data illustrating the many successes of the systems of care model. Psychologist Gary M. Blau, PhD, chief of the Child, Adolescent and Family Branch of the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA, discussed the agency's systems of care grants, which help fund community partnerships that work with families and children with mental health needs.
Another speaker, psychologist Mark Weist, PhD, advocated for the effectiveness of school-based mental health services. Known for his leadership at the Center for School Mental Health Analysis and Action at the University of Maryl and School of Medicine, Weist discussed some of the challenges and opportunities that come with providing services at this level. Effective delivery and support, he said, will allow children with mental health problems to thrive in their communities.