ARLINGTON, Va., April 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Mary Giliberti, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has issued the following statement:
"NAMI shares the nation's sadness over Wednesday's tragedy at Fort Hood, Texas. NAMI is an organization of individuals and families, including military service members and veterans, who have had their lives deeply affected by mental illness. We extend our sympathies to the families of those who lost their lives or were wounded. We also are sorry for the pain experienced by the family of the person responsible.
When tragedies occur, clear facts emerge slowly. However, the immediate focus on mental health conditions often adds to the stigma that surrounds them. This result would be particularly tragic for our nation's warriors and veterans.
NAMI has repeatedly called for action to erase the stigma of seeking help for mental health problems— especially in military communities, where the culture often motivates solders to conceal mental illness because it is seen as a weakness, rather than a medical condition like any other. Strong leadership and accountability will be needed now more than ever to convey and implement a message of parity: that mental wounds are as serious as physical ones and will receive the same compassion and care.
Every day, one active duty warrior and 22 veterans die from suicide. Their deaths represent a national crisis. We must not allow the Fort Hood tragedy to increase stigma that already exists or discourage others from reaching out for help when they need it. NAMI will continue to advocate for parity, accountability, collaboration and action for all our warriors and veterans with mental health needs."
NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.
SOURCE National Alliance on Mental Illness