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Albuquerque among First Cities to Launch

White House Initiated National Conversation on Mental Health

July 17, 2013

Albuquerque, NM - Albuquerque will be one of the first of many cities across the country to initiate a national conversation on mental health. On July 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, Mayor Richard J. Berry will host the launch of a Greater Albuquerque dialogue on mental health, called Creating Community Solutions – Albuquerque.  

"I am honored that Albuquerque has been chosen to be one of the first city from around the country to answer President Obama’s call for a national conversation about mental health and its impact in our communities,” said Mayor Berry. “The one-day event provides an opportunity to build on the important work already started by the city and take it further with discussions that ultimately lead to action plans designed to improve mental health programs and services for our families, schools and community."

Creating Community Solutions on Mental Health – Albuquerque will bring together people from across the region to participate in small-group conversations to share their concerns, talk about what the community is facing, and come up with actions and priorities for the Greater Albuquerque Region.  Saturday’s event will include comments from former U.S. Senator Pete Domenici.

"Participants will be demographically representative of the whole community, with extra representation from youth, mental health providers, and families with lived with mental health issues," said Department of Family and Community Services Director Robin Otten.

The White House initiated the national conversation on mental health at a conference on June 3 with President Obama delivering opening remarks and Vice President Biden providing closing remarks. At the request of the White House Mayor Richard J. Berry attended the day long summit.

"The event builds on the substantial groundwork already in place in the city to address the attitudes and perceptions about mental health," said Martha McCoy, executive director of Everyday Democracy-a Hartford, Conn. based organization that formed Creating Community Solutions and is helping the city to organize the Albuquerque July 20 and continuing community conversations.

"When people have a chance to sit down with others, form trust, discuss the issue and create priorities, community transformation is possible," McCoy added.

A diverse action planning committee will work from the results of the July 20 event to move this important work forward in the fall.  Community conversations are planned to take place within eight neighborhoods throughout the Greater Albuquerque Region, "so that even more people can join the conversation and have a voice in creating action plans and strategies," said Otten.

Albuquerque has already created an impressive collaboration of support for this conversation. A broad base of New Mexico’s philanthropic community including Con Alma Health Foundation, the McCune Charitable Trust, and the United Way of Central New Mexico has provided local funding and support for this initiative. Providing additional planning and support for the Albuquerque dialogue are the following organizations: NAMI, YDI, Inc., Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council, OptumHealth, IDEAS in Psychiatry, UNM Department of Psychiatry, Center for Health Policy at UNM, APS, NM HSD.

For those interested in registering for the July 20 dialogue or continuing community conversations, visit www.creatingcommunitysolutions.org and click on the Albuquerque button on the map.

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