June 5, 1999


“Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, but stigma and bias shame us all. Together, we will replace stigma with acceptance, ignorance with understanding, fear with new hope for the future.”

President Bill Clinton
June 5, 1999

Today, in a joint radio address, President Clinton and Tipper Gore, the President's Mental Health Advisor, announced a new national campaign to help eliminate the stigma of mental illness and encourage the millions of Americans with mental health needs to get help. The President and Mrs. Gore discussed myths surrounding mental illness and presented the facts about these diseases. The President and Mrs. Gore, along with the Vice President and First Lady, will continue this discussion on Monday as part of the first-ever White House Conference on Mental Health.

Launching a Campaign to Raise Mental Health Awareness. In a joint radio address, President Clinton and Mrs. Gore announced the launch this fall of a nationwide campaign to dispel the myths surrounding mental illness and to encourage those with mental illness to get help. Chaired by Mrs. Gore, the campaign will be a public-private partnership led by the Surgeon General and the Ad Council, and will involve a wide range of community organizations, media, and others. The campaign will address many of the issues to be raised at the upcoming White House Conference on Mental Health.

Dispelling the Myths of Mental Illness. President Clinton and Mrs. Gore addressed some of the myths surrounding mental illness, including:

Myth: Mental illness is not a disease and cannot be treated.
Fact: Mental illnesses are diagnosable disorders of the brain, and treatments are effective 60% to 80% of the time.

Myth: Mental illness is something that only happens to other people.
Fact: One in five Americans experience some form of mental illness every year. And one in four Americans has a family member with a mental illness.

Myth: Young people don't suffer from "real" depression; they're just moody.
Fact: One in ten children and adolescents suffers from mental illness.

Hosting the First White House Conference on Mental Health. The White House's new nationwide campaign on mental illness, along with myths and facts about these diseases, will be discussed on Monday at the first White House Conference on Mental Health. The conference, which will be held in Washington, D.C., will interactively involve tens of thousands of Americans in over 1,000 cities across the country.


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