Press Releases

NAMI Salutes World Health Day's Focus on Mental Health & Mental Illnesses

Statement by Jacqueline Shannon, president, Board of Directors National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI)

Apr 06 2001

NAMI is pleased to join the World Health Organization (WHO) in observing World Health Day on April 6, 2001. An annual event, this year's observance for the first time focuses specifically on mental health and mental illnesses. It is the latest in a series of events in recent years that have demonstrated high-level concern for mental illnesses-including the Decade of the Brain, the White House Conference on Mental Health, the Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, and the award of the Nobel Prize in medicine to three scientists who have contributed to major advances in understanding and treating brain disorders.

World Health Day also focuses on stigma, discrimination, and the difficulties across the globe in getting appropriate treatment. It should encourage open discussion about the challenges and problems faced daily by people with severe mental illnesses and their families.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) today is sponsoring the World Health Day observance in Washington, DC. NAMI Board Member Jim McNulty will be one of two consumer advocates responding to a keynote address by U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher. 

Following World Health Day will be the October publication of the annual report of the WHO Director General, which also will focus on mental health and mental illnesses. The report is expected to be a landmark publication, analogous to the U.S. Surgeon General's Report on Mental Health, but global in its scope and implications. It will reflect not only the WHO Director General's interest in mental illnesses, but also the growing worldwide recognition of their profound personal and economic consequences. This growing awareness must be matched by global improvements in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses.