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Mayor Williams Proclaims Mental Health Awareness Year

Wednesday, September 8, 2004
(Washington, DC)  Mayor Anthony A. Williams today issued a proclamation that the District will recognize “The Year of Mental Health Awareness, September 11, 2004 to September 10, 2005.”  The American Mental Health Counselors Association is conducting a national campaign to encourage every state and the District to proclaim mental health awareness year to increase understanding of the need for sound mental health.


“Nationally, September 11, 2001 always will be remembered as a day of shock and horror as well as a day of tremendous sacrifice and courage,” said Mayor Williams.  “In the District, it also marks the day the DC Department of Mental Health took its place beside its sister agencies to assist residents, commuters and visitors with recovering from this tragedy.  Since then, DMH has led the way to better mental health for children, youth and adults by increasing the number of people receiving service from 6,000 to 18,000 today.”


The announcement was made at the Mayor’s weekly press briefing, attended by Pat Schwallie-Giddis, Ph.D., President of the DC Mental Health Counselors Association (the local AMHCA chapter); Monica McGivern, Ph.D., an association member; Neil Albert, Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth, Families and Elders; and Martha B. Knisley, Director of the DC Department of Mental Health.


“Through the DC CINGS (Children Inspired Now Gain Strength) system of care being developed with our partner agencies – Office of the Deputy Mayor for Children, Youth, Families and Elders; Child and Family Services Agency; DC Public Schools; and offices within the Departments of Health and Human Services – we are expanding the range of traditional and non-traditional services available to young people and their families,” said Director Knisley. 


During the Year of Mental Health Awareness, DMH will encourage people to overcome their reluctance to seek mental health services to “avoid the consequences of untreated anxiety, untreated depression, physical deterioration and help to prevent the occurrence of domestic violence, child abuse and family instability,” as stated in the proclamation.