November 5, 2002

American Psychological Association Applauds Focus of President's Commission Interim Report

The American Psychological Association applauds the Interim Report to the President prepared by the President's New Freedom Commission on Mental Health and its focus on unmet needs and barriers to care within our nation's mental health system. The report's emphasis on the need to improve access to mental health services for children, older adults, and people of color is particularly important. Among its significant contributions, the report also highlights innovative community-based programs that offer successful approaches to address the needs of these diverse populations.

The American Psychological Association commends the Commission for its recognition that mental health and suicide prevention need to be regarded as national priorities. As noted in the Commission report, our nation's failure to do so is indeed a "tragedy," resulting in unnecessary suffering and "devastating" loss.

"As you can see from the report, we have identified many of the problems with our mental health system," explains Commissioner Deanna F. Yates, Ph.D., APA member and President-elect of the Texas Psychological Association. "The Commission now has a great deal of work ahead of us to provide recommendations that would lead to a system of mental health care that will work."

The American Psychological Association heralds this interim report as a critical step in the ongoing work of the Commission to recommend improvements for our nation's mental health system. "The focus of the Commission's interim report is extremely well-placed," states Raymond D. Fowler, Ph.D., CEO of the American Psychological Association. "As a nation we must deliver quality services to people with mental and emotional disorders more efficiently. In the long run, doing so will improve lives and save healthcare, social services, and other expenses."

The American Psychological Association looks forward to the final report and to continuing to work with the Commission, Congress and key federal agencies to ensure that Americans with mental, emotional, and/or behavioral disorders receive the quality care they deserve.