District of Columbia Raises NAMI Flag for Lieutenant Governors; Part of National Campaign to Raise Awareness on Mental Health Issues

Feb 12 2003

WHAT: Special Flag-Raising Ceremony

WHEN: Thursday, February 13, 2003 at 11:30 A.M.

Front of the Old District Building
14th Street N.W. and Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.

Mary & Kristy Worthen, Little Rock, Arkansas
Carolyn Graham, Deputy Mayor, District of Columbia
The National Lieutenant Governor’s Association (NLGA)
The National Alliance for the Mentally Ill

The event offers DC News Bureaus an opportunity for background and visual footage for upcoming stories in March and April about President Bush’s “New Freedom” Commission, deepening state budget crises in mental healthcare, and parity legislation still pending in Congress. From a national perspective, the NLGA flag project also presents an attractive feature story about hope and recovery.

As President Bush’s “New Freedom” Commission on Mental Health moves toward release of its final report in April 2003, the NLGA is seeking to rally public awareness of the need to improve the lives of people with mental illnesses. Their vehicle is “the NAMI flag project” launched by Arkansas Lieutenant Governor Winthrop Rockefeller, in honor of a flag hand-painted by Kristy Worthen, age 24, whose story is the subject of Journey Not Chosen…Destination Not Known: Living with Bipolar Disorder (Little Rock: August House Publishers 2001). Bearing the symbol of a beacon from a lighthouse and the slogan “Shine A Light on Mental Health Issues,” the flag has flown to date over statehouses in Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and Idaho. It will move on to other states following this week’s NLGA meeting in Washington.

The NGLA Website, includes President Bush’s promise: “We must work for a welcoming and compassionate society where no American is forgotten. We must give all Americans who suffer from mental illness the treatment and the respect they deserve.” For more information about the Commission, see www.mhcirl.ie.