MEMPHIS, Tenn., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congressman Patrick Kennedy, a long-time advocate for people living with mental illness, and Marc Kullman, co-founder of the National Bipolar Foundation, joined efforts to help reduce the stigma associated with bipolar disorder. The Brilliance in Bipolar Initiative is a national and collaborative effort to draw attention to and develop a better understanding of bipolar disorder. This week, the National Bipolar Foundation received a congressional proclamation from Congressman Kennedy in which Kennedy approved and acknowledged several of the ground-breaking programs the NBF has been instrumental in starting.
The NBF has also received bipartisan support from former Louisiana Lt. Gov. and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu; Tennessee Speaker of the Senate Ron Ramsey; Tennessee State Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris; Memphis Mayor AC Wharton; and a broad representation from medical health care professionals, university hospitals, judges, and community activists.
Patrick J. Kennedy is serving his eighth term in Congress as the representative from the First District of Rhode Island. Kennedy has placed improvement of the nation's mental health at the top of his legislative agenda. Working with Senator Pete Domenici (R-NM) and others, he has led the fight to pass mental health parity in the House, ending discrimination in health insurance. He has introduced legislation to help states respond to the psychological effects of terrorism, to address crisis shortages of children's mental health providers, and to keep families with severely mentally ill children from being broken up. He has used his position on the Appropriations Committee to push successfully for increased spending on community mental health and mental healthcare for seniors. In April 2001, he hosted Surgeon General David Satcher and others for a hearing on children's mental health at the Rhode Island State House. Recognized as a national leader in mental health, Kennedy has received numerous awards for his advocacy on behalf of the mentally ill. He also has received the Society for Neuroscience - Public Service Award (2002), Eli Lilly & Co. 2003 Helping Move Lives Forward Reintegration Awards, American Psychoanalytic Association 2003 President's Award, American Psychiatric Association Alliance award (2003), Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance - Paul Wellstone Mental Health Award (2003), and many other honors from professional organizations in this area.
Marc Kullman is a founding director of the National Bipolar Foundation. He served as a Mayoral Appointee as Chairman of the Delgado College Commission, re-appointed by four consecutive city administrations, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Kullman orchestrated a cooperative venture between the National Bipolar Foundation and the MedicAlert Foundation; a preventative care program called "Safe 'til Stable." It provides vital medical information to emergency responders in time of need through a live 24-hour emergency response service. In a medical emergency, this can help reduce the trauma experienced by individuals impacted with bipolar disorder. If an individual experiences an event, first responders on the scene (e.g., law enforcement, emergency services personnel, etc.) will look for a medical ID with the "MEDIC ALERT" symbol. The "Safe 'til Stable" program is a milestone; in that, those with bipolar disorder will have a voice in times when they cannot speak for themselves, will be properly routed in times of emergency providing a sense of security for the individual and those close to them.
Kullman is quoted as saying "leaders like Congressman Kennedy are hard to find. He exhibits the highest standard of moral character and courage to stand for a cause where others might choose to remain silent."
The NBF was established in 2007 by Marc Kullman and a group of dedicated business professionals in an effort to reduce stigma, educate, raise awareness and seek affordable healthcare for those people living with bipolar disorder and is the first the national group of its kind dedicated to eradicating the stigma associated with bipolar disorder.
The National Institute of Mental Health states that bipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million adult Americans, about 2.6% of the population age 18 and older. It is found in all ages, races, ethnic groups, social classes, and both genders, with up to one-third of the 3.l4 million children and adolescents with depression in the United States actually experiencing the early onset of bipolar disorder.
Kennedy's proclamation acknowledges the Safe 'til Stable program as an effective and vital method of preventive care, as well as a means to aid the mission of the NBF.
Marc Kullman says "We are greatly honored and encouraged by the Kennedy endorsement of the NBF." As he says in the NBF's nationwide commercial, "we have a hope." The NBF can be reached at NationalBipolarFoundation.org.
SOURCE National Bipolar Foundation