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Prev Chronic Dis. 2006 Apr;3(2):A62. Epub 2006 Mar 15.

The Carter Center Mental Health Program: addressing the public health crisis in the field of mental health through policy change and stigma reduction.

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  • 1The Carter Center Mental Health Program, 453 Freedom Pkwy, Atlanta, GA 30307, USA.


Some of the most pervasive and debilitating illnesses are mental illnesses, according to World Health Organization's The World Health Report 2001--Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope. Neuropsychiatric conditions account for four of the top five leading causes of years of life lived with disability in people aged 15 to 44 in the Western world. Many barriers prevent people with mental illnesses from seeking care, such as prohibitive costs, lack of insurance, and the stigma and discrimination associated with mental illnesses. The Carter Center Mental Health Program, established in 1991, focuses on mental health policy issues within the United States and internationally. This article examines the public health crisis in the field of mental health and focuses on The Carter Center Mental Health Program's initiatives, which work to increase public knowledge of and decrease the stigma associated with mental illnesses through their four strategic goals: reducing stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses; achieving equity of mental health care comparable with other health services; advancing early promotion, prevention, and early intervention services for children and their families; and increasing public awareness about mental illnesses and mental health issues.

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