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Proclamation 6482 — Mental Illness Awareness Week, 1992

October 01, 1992

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Advances in biomedical research and the behavioral scienes have dramatically improved our ability to prevent, diagnose, and treat mental illness -- a public health problem that continues to call for greater public awareness and understanding.

Once clouded by mystery and shame, mental illness actually refers to a range of diseases, such as schizophrenia and depression, that may affect individuals of any age, race, or wallk of life. In fact, it is estimated that as many as one-fourth of all Americans will suffer from a mental disorder at some point in their lives. The price to our Nation in terms of lost productivity, health care expenses, and other costs may total as much as $300 billion a year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

The suffering experienced by persons with mental illness is tremendous, as their conditions may deprive them of the ability to lead full, independent, and productive lives. Far too many of these individuals suffer from stigmatization by others as well, leading to a sense of rejection and alienation.

In order to dispel myths and misconceptions about mental illness and to help individuals and families who are affected by it, researchers in both the public and private sectors are working hard to unlock the secrets of the human mind. In recognition of their efforts and as a sign of our Nation's commitment to further progress in neuroscience, I proclaimed the 1990s the "Decade of the Brain." This is a time of unprecedented opportunity and hope as we work to promote the mental health and the overall well-being of all Americans.

The National Institute of Menal Health, the Federal Government agency that funds most of the mental health research in the United States, is making a major effort to inform Americans about mental disorders and their treatment. In addition, under the ADAMHA Reorganization Act that I signed in July, the Federal Government will concentrate its services for persons who suffer from, or are vulnerable to, mental illness and addictive disorders. By integrating into the National Institutes of Health the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, we will bring research on mental illness and addictive disorders into the mainstream of biomedical and behavioral research.

The Federal Government is, of course, joined in its efforts by many private researchers and voluntary organizations, including organizations that have been established by persons who have overcome mental illness. These individuals are helping to promote new scientific and medical breakthroughs while also educating the public about the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness. This week, we salute all of these volunteers and professionals and reaffirm our support of their noble work.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 287, has designated the week of October 4 through October 10, 1992, as "Mental Illness Awareness" and has 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 4 through October 10, 1992, as Mental Illness Awareness Week. I invite all Americans to join with members of the health care community in observing this week with appropriate programs and activities.

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

Signature of George Bush


George Bush, Proclamation 6482 — Mental Illness Awareness Week, 1992 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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