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Advocates Speak Out on the Mental Health Crisis

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Dialogue Themes and Findings

"I am a whole person, and all my parts come together."

-Family member, consumer, policymaker

In Their Own Words

Participants introduced themselves and shared relevant personal and professional experiences related to the intersection of mental health and general health.

. . . My primary care doctor would never ask me about mental health issues, how I was doing on an emotional basis. He would consider physical illnesses only from a biological perspective, and how I was doing and feeling never came up in all those years.

-Consumer, policymaker

. . . We're talking about two dimensions to equip and empower primary care physicians to recognize and treat mental health problems, and to ensure that consumers who receive mental health care receive high-quality general medical care.

-Mental health provider, advocate, educator

. . . Primary care must see mental health as part of its charge and responsibility. The ultimate goal is for primary care and mental health care to work together. Developing a coordinated plan should be the context for all work.

-Mental health administrator

At the heart of many of their comments was the toxic effect of stigma and discrimination . . .

. . . I am overweight, Black, and a trauma survivor. I have to do a lot of working with people to get them to notice my physical complaints. I keep trying to get my rights.


. . . I felt stigma and shame for many years, which kept me from seeking services.

-Consumer, policymaker 

. . . The African American community needs a lot of education on identifying when there's a problem, and then getting help. Often we're told, "Just pray a lot." "Just be strong." It's looked upon as a character flaw if we have any mental problems.



Excerpts from Recovering Your Mental Health - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Published by CMHS (Center for Mental Health Services) and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)

Consumer Information Series, Volume 7

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