WASHINGTON, March 5, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Easter Seals announced today their involvement with 'The Campaign to Change Direction,' a national initiative to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness and wellness. As part of the collective effort led by Give an Hour, Easter Seals joined 50 other campaign partners in this effort with its pledge to bring the 'Campaign to Change Direction' movement to its network of military families, individuals with special needs, affiliates, volunteers and staff, nationwide.
Inspired by discussions at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, 'Change Direction' is a response to the way society addresses mental health. One in five Americans live with a diagnosable mental health condition, and it is expected that more Americans will die by suicide than in car accidents this year.
"Easter Seals is honored to join the movement to change the story about mental health and wellness in America," said Easter Seals President and CEO, Randy Rutta. "We, along with our partner organizations, believe it's time to better understand how we care for ourselves and others, to support coordination and collaboration among those working to reduce barriers and open pathways that embrace mental health as an integral and necessary aspect of the human condition."
Easter Seals is one of 13 founding members for the 'Campaign to Change Direction. Rutta was invited as a featured leader for the "Applying Lessons Learned from Community Service" panel at the launch event.
The campaign launched at a mental health summit at the Newseum on March 4, which included a keynote address from First Lady Michelle Obama, an appearance by Academy Award-winning producer of "Silver Linings Playbook," Bruce Cohen, and a performance by G.R.L., a musical girl group that was personally touched by the issue when their lead singer, Simone Battle, committed suicide in September 2014.
"Give an Hour is proud to lead this collective impact effort of partners from every sector of society as we change the direction of mental health in our nation. By creating a shared mission, by educating Americans about the five signs of emotional suffering, by encouraging compassion and action, we can change our culture to reflect what we know to be true—that mental health is not something to be afraid of or embarrassed about," said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour.
Easter Seals encourages individuals and other organizations to "help change the direction" of mental health in our country and let your voices be heard by joining us in making a pledge, however large or small. The simplest pledge is one that anyone can do: Learn the five signs of emotional suffering so you can recognize them in yourself or help a loved one who may be in emotional pain. To learn more or to make a pledge to Change Direction, visit www.changedirection.org.
About The Campaign to Change Direction
The Campaign to Change Direction initiative is a collection of concerned citizens, nonprofit leaders, and leaders from the private sector who have come together to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness, and wellness. This initiative was inspired by the discussion at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, which came on the heels of the Newtown tragedy.
About Easter Seals
Easter Seals is the leading non-profit provider of services for individuals with autism, developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. For nearly 100 years, we have been offering help, hope, and answers to children and adults living with disabilities, and to the families who love them. Through therapy, training, education and support services, Easter Seals creates life-changing solutions so that people with disabilities can live, learn, work and play in their communities. For more information visit www.easterseals.com
SOURCE Easter Seals