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Election Day Countdown: 'Mental Health Gets My Vote'; Voting Rights of People with Mental Illness are Protected

August 17, 2010

Washington, D.C.
 -- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has unveiled an Elections 2010 website  for grassroots advocates to use in reminding candidates for public office that "Mental Health Gets My Vote."

"Election Day is less than three months away," said NAMI Executive Director Michael J. Fitzpatrick. "Elections this year at every level are critical ones for mental health. Strong, non-partisan dialogue is urgent. “

"State budget crises across the country have led to massive cuts in mental health services that have put lives at risk. At the national level, congressional actions also affect hopes for recovery.”

"Everything from Medicaid to the nation's economic crisis to recovery from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico involves mental health concerns," Fitzpatrick said. "Americans concerned with unemployment, for example, need to recognize that unemployed persons are four times as likely to report symptoms of mental illness. This is no time to cut mental health."

The NAMI Election 2010s website includes federal and states action agendas and questions to ask candidates in public forums.  Editorial writers and reporters also will be able to use the website's fact sheets and questions for issue-based election coverage.

The site includes voter registration information and important reference tools for local mental health groups and individuals to use in defending the right to vote against improper challenges by election officials. Under federal law, people with mental illnesses who understand what it means to vote cannot be denied the right to vote.

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization, representing individuals and families affected by serious mental illness. NAMI has more than 1,100 state and local communities engaged in support, education and advocacy. NAMI is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization and does not endorse political candidates.

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