Obama skirts gun issue at mental health event

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Obama skirts gun issue at mental health event

Post  fshnski on Mon Jun 03, 2013 12:03 pm

Sidestepping the issue of gun violence, President Obama opened a mental health conference at the White House Monday by calling for a national effort to diagnose and treat mental illness earlier in children and offer more services for adults.

“The main goal of this conference is not to start a conversation,” Mr. Obama said. “Instead, it’s about elevating that conversation to a national level, and bringing mental illness out of the shadows.”

After a troubled young man killed 20 first-graders and six educators last December in Newtown, Conn., the president proposed an overhaul of the nation’s mental health system as part of the administration’s response to gun control and reducing gun violence. But advocacy groups have objected to linking gun violence and mental illness, and Mr. Obama was careful in his remarks Monday not to discuss guns.

Instead, Mr. Obama talked about the importance of eliminating the stigma of mental illness.

“We see it in the tragedies that we have the power to prevent,” Mr. Obama said. “I want to be absolutely clear. The overwhelming majority of people who suffer from mental illnesses are not violent, they will never pose a threat to themselves or others. And there are a whole lot of violent people with no diagnosable mental health issues.”

He added, “But we also know that most suicides each year involve someone with a mental-health or substance-abuse disorder. And in some cases, when a condition goes untreated, it can lead to tragedy on a larger scale.”

The administration is holding the daylong conference with local and state officials, faith leaders, educators and mental health advocates to raise awareness and built support for better treatment. There were no new spending proposals initiated Monday, although the president said mental health services will be expanding under the Affordable Care Act, such as depression screening for adults.

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/3/obama-skirts-gun-issue-mental-health-event/#ixzz2VAaLaVjh
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