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Proclamation 6196—Mental Illness Awareness Week, 1990

October 09, 1990

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Mental illnesses affect millions of adults, children, and adolescents throughout the United States. Striking without regard to race, gender, or economic status, mental illnesses not only deprive these Americans of full, happy, and productive lives but also inflict a heavy emotional and financial burden on them and their families as well. Mental illness has become one of the most costly public health problems in our country, both in terms of wasted human potential and suffering and in terms of the cost of health care and lost school or work hours.

Fortunately, however, recent progress in the study of the human brain has strengthened hopes that mental illness can be overcome. Basic research in the biomedical and behavioral sciences has produced astounding advances in our understanding of the causes, progression, and manifestations of mental illnesses. The implications for our ongoing efforts to develop means of preventing and even curing mental illnesses are profoundly heartening.

During the past 20 years, we have made great strides in treating mental disorders and in developing drugs that ameliorate the symptoms of such conditions as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorders. New techniques are leading to improved assessments of intellectual functions, as well as effective drug therapies and vocational rehabilitation programs to help persons with mental illnesses.

The success of much of the basic and clinical research that has revolutionized neuroscience can be attributed to amazing new technologies. For example, through sophisticated imaging tools and computerized tomography, physicians and scientists are now able to trace the intricate pathways through which the brain's messages flow. By literally watching the brain function in this manner, they are learning more about normal and abnormal behavior, emotion, and thought.

Last year, I signed into law House Joint Resolution 174, which called for the observance of the 1990s as the "Decade of the Brain." This resolution recognized both the advances and the opportunities that have been generated through basic brain research. It also underscored our Nation's determination to continue working -- through the efforts of Federal agencies, private research foundations, health care providers, and concerned voluntary organizations -- to improve the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses and to dispel the myths and misconceptions that too often prevent victims and their families from obtaining the help and acceptance they need and deserve.

To enhance public awareness of mental illness and to promote greater understanding for those who suffer from it, the Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 256 (Public Law 101-348), has designated the week beginning October 7 and ending October 13, 1990, as "Mental Illness Awareness Week" and has authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this week.

Now, Therefore, I, George Bush, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the week of October 7 through October 13, 1990, as Mental Illness Awareness Week. I call upon all Americans to observe this week with appropriate ceremonies and activities designed to foster greater understanding for mentally ill individuals and recognition of their need for treatment and rehabilitation.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and fifteenth.

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6196—Mental Illness Awareness Week, 1990 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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