The President’s plan to protect our children and our communities by reducing gun violence directs the Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Education to launch a National Dialogue on Mental Health with young people who have experienced mental health problems, members of the faith community, foundations, and school and business leaders. The National Dialogue, which Creating Community Solutions is a part of, will take place through:

  1. Community conversations

    Several geographically/demographically diverse cities will host structured conversations facilitated by deliberative democracy groups that will result in community specific action plans. This initiative, Creating Community Solutions, will allow participants to learn about mental health issues - from each other and from research - and to develop plans to improve mental health in their own communities.
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    Other communities may choose to use the SAMHSA created toolkit designed to help host their own conversations. Depending on the type of conversation, there are a number of resources available to learn how to launch a dialogue in your community.  These communties are encouraged to share their results on the Creating Community Solutions outcomes page.
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  2. Public/private partnership commitments

    Outside groups such as national associations of schools, colleges and universities, faith-based groups, medical providers, and others are being asked to commit to including some form of mental health awareness or discussion  in their upcoming activities. The idea is that this form of conversation will reach communities that aren’t limited to geographic designations, but are communities of like minded citizens (ie, teachers, churchgoers etc) across the country. Results from these activities can also be shared on the Creating Community Solutions outcomes page.
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  3. Social and online media

    HHS launched MentalHealth.gov as an online resource for people looking for information about signs of mental illness and how individuals can seek help. The website includes videos of people who share their stories about mental health problems and recovery.
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Sebelius: Bring mental illness out of the shadows

President Obama following lead of John Kennedy 50 years ago on improving access to care.

Fifty years ago Tuesday, President John Kennedy shattered the national silence when he delivered a message to Congress in which he called for a bold new community-based approach to mental illness that emphasized prevention, treatment, education and recovery.

In the half century since, we've made tremendous progress as a country when it comes to attitudes about mental health. But recent events have reminded us that we still have a long way to go to bring mental health fully out of the shadow