Psychiatric Rehabilitation Association

Community Mental Health Act 50th Anniversary

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PsyR Connections 2013 Issue 3
September 25, 2013

The 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s signing of the Community Mental Health Act, the landmark bill that laid the foundation of contemporary mental health policy, is October 31. President Kennedy’s call to action in 1963 was based on a belief that all Americans – including those with mental illnesses, intellectual disabilities, and addictions – have the right to lead dignified lives and to share in the beliefs of our society. The act provided federal funding for community mental health centers, leading to considerable deinstitutionalization.

In recognition of the act’s 50th Anniversary, The Kennedy Forum on Community Mental Health invites you to lend your voice to the launch of a bold, ongoing effort to advance the work President Kennedy began. The Kennedy Forum will serve as a vehicle to honor Kennedy’s effort, celebrate the progress, and identify areas that need improvement in the next 50 years for the mental illness, intellectual/development disabilities, substance abuse, and addiction community. The following events will take place in October to commemorate the act’s anniversary:

Gala, October 23 – A celebratory dinner and VIP keynote speaker program at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston, MA.

Live National Webcast, October 23 – Local mental health communities and organizations around the country will host celebrations the same night as the gala to view the VIP keynote speaker program live and participate in a program developed by the Forum.

Conference, October 24 – A full day of programming featuring panel discussions and breakout sessions covering a wide range of topics including: advances in mental health research and treatment; community approaches to mental and substance use disorders and intellectual and developmental disabilities; employment for individuals with mental and developmental disability and productivity in the workplace; and improvements in treatment of mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities and substance use disorders from the Affordable Care Act and Mental Health Parity Act. Location: Westin Copley, Boston, MA