Community Conversations on Mental Health Help Local Leaders Take Action

July 15, 2013

By Neil Bomberg

At the beginning of 2013, President Barack Obama called for a "national conversation to increase understanding about mental health." Last month, the White House hosted the National Conference on Mental Health, which brought together city, state and national leaders with mental health professionals. NLC joined with the White House in calling for a sustained national conversation on mental health to bring this issue to the forefront of cities and towns across the country.

As a result of the recent White House National Conference on Mental Health, planning has begun for "community conversations" on mental health in over 50 communities. On July 20th, Sacramento, California and Albuquerque, New Mexico will host their community dialogues on mental health.

These conversations, many of which are being planned by mayors and local elected officials, are meant to help communities decide how they might take action to improve mental health in their families, schools and communities. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has launched a community conversations page describing the basic parameters for these events, and an online map shows the full range of places and organizations involved.

Your city can participate in these community conversations by visiting the map to find nearby community leaders and groups that may be potential allies in planning a community conversation about mental health. You can also add your city as a partner to the community conversations initiative and/or put your own pin on the map to organize an event in your area.

To learn more, please contact Matt Leighninger at mattl@deliberative-democracy.net.