WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As November 4th approaches and voters are deciding which candidates to support, mental health is on the minds of many Americans.
To connect with Congressional candidates who believe in Americans' rights to control their own lives and in the basic values of health, safety, and human dignity, activists recently created a civil rights campaign called MARCH (Mental health Advocates for Rights, Civil liberties and Human dignity). Now, National Mental Health & Dignity Day (NMHDD) – a grassroots initiative founded by three individuals in Michigan and West Virginia and led by persons in recovery from mental health challenges – is supporting the initial phase of a new, short-term MARCH campaign. The campaign's goal is to raise $4,000 in order to reach out to Congressional candidates in up to 46 Congressional districts. (Contributions are tax-deductible.)
MARCH seeks to identify candidates who don't fear controversy, such as Paul Clements, the Democratic nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives in Michigan's 6th District. "I support comprehensive mental health reforms which put the quality of life of patients first," said Clements. "We need to stand for the rights of Americans to assure we are spending government money in an effective and efficient way and support programs that already are doing well."
Activists have long fought to protect the civil rights of individuals who have mental health issues; and their struggle has allowed more people to live freely, obtain gainful employment, access the care of their choice and participate in all aspects of society. However, that does not happen for the majority of persons with psychiatric histories.
At the same time, the last year has seen a controversial effort to create a federal mandate for forced treatment, which would infringe on the rights of people who already are subject to forced treatment laws in their home states and local jurisdictions. "I have firsthand experience, both with force and from working in the public mental health system to address treatment by use of force, which is a method that is unheard of with any other health interventions. That is a problem and voters are being misinformed by members of Congress," said Scott Spicer, a resident of Michigan's 6th District.
Funding for the new civil rights initiative comes from a small network of individual donors who supported National Mental Health & Dignity Day events across the country last spring, among them a statewide organization in Michigan. "Michigan is on the map because we do great work here related to mental health recovery. Without the support of individuals who care, we can't keep that running, unless Congress decides to help us in continuing to promote recovery and not going back to the programs that don't work and cost more money to taxpayers," said Jean Dukarski, a Michigan resident and NMHDD co-founder.
To find out more, visit http://www.mentalhealthdignityday.org/march-coalition.html or on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mentalhealthdignityday and Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/NMHDignityDay
Contact: Patrick Cook, [email protected]
SOURCE MARCH (Mental health Advocates for Rights, Civil liberties and Human dignity)