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June 24, 2005

The Mental Health Community Responds to Tom Cruise's Today Show Interview

Recent interviews by actor Tom Cruise about mental illness, such as those on the TODAY Show on June 24, as part of a movie publicity tour, have outraged mental health consumers and family members. We share below NAMI's response along with the American Psychiatric Association and National Mental Health Association. We encourage individuals to share the statement with others, including local TV and newspaper entertainment editors and movie critics. Please also write letters to editors.

Tom Cruise's most recent statements are reflected in interviews with the TODAY Show and Entertainment Weekly.

Joint statement of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), NAMI (National Alliance for the Mentally Ill), and the National Mental Health Association (NMHA).

"While we respect the right of individuals to express their own points of view, they are not entitled to their own facts. Mental illnesses are real medical conditions that affect millions of Americans.

FACT: Over the past five years, the nation has more than doubled its investment in the study of the human brain and behavior, leading to a vastly expanded understanding of postpartum depression, bipolar disorder and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Much of this research has been conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the nation’s leading academic institutions.

FACT: Safe and effective treatments are available and may include talk therapy, medication or a combination of the two. Rigorous, published, peer-reviewed research clearly demonstrates that treatment works.

FACT: Medications can be an important and even life-saving part of a comprehensive and individualized treatment plan. As in other areas of medicine, medications are a safe and effective way to improve the quality of life for millions of Americans who have mental health concerns.

FACT: Mental health is a critical ingredient of overall health. It is unfortunate that in the face of this remarkable scientific and clinical progress that a small number of individuals and groups persist in questioning its legitimacy.

FACT: Mental illnesses are highly treatable and seeking help is a sign of strength.

It is irresponsible for Mr. Cruise to use his movie publicity tour to promote his own ideological views and deter people with mental illness from getting the care they need."

James H. Scully, Jr., MD, Medical Director
American Psychiatric Association
1000 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1825
Arlington, VA 22209

Michael Fitzpatrick, Executive Director
National Alliance for the Mentally Ill
Colonial Place Three
2107 Wilson Blvd., Suite 300
Arlington, VA 22201

Michael Faenza, President and CEO
National Mental Health Association
2001 N. Beauregard Street, 12th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22311


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