General Peter W. Chiarelli (ret.) of Seattle to Receive National Award; Rally for Veterans also set for Seattle’s Westlake Park on June 28

Jun 21 2012

SEATTLE, June 21, 2012—The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) will present General Peter W. Chiarelli (ret.) U.S. Army of Seattle, with its Distinguished Service Award, the organization's highest honor, at its national convention in Seattle on June 27-30, 2012.

On Thursday, June 28, NAMI will also hold a "Parity for Patriots Rally" at 1 p.m. in Westlake Park. Banners, flags and music will mark the event in addition to veterans speaking about their experiences.

Chiarelli, a four-star general, retired from the Army earlier this year after 40 years of service, the last four as the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff. His prior assignments included command of the First Cavalry Division and multinational forces in Iraq.

As Deputy Chief of Staff, he became a fierce advocate for soldiers and veterans living with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries, calling for elimination of stigma surrounding mental illness, which discourages people from seeking help when they need it.

Chiarelli now serves as CEO of One Mind for Research, a coalition working for a new, interdisciplinary approach to neuroscience and mental health-related public policy. He will speak on the "Advancement of Brain Research" at the convention's opening session.

On Saturday, June 30, NAMI will hold a symposium on "Healing the Hidden Wounds of War: Meeting the Challenge of Helping Soldiers and Veterans with Impairments Affecting the Brain." Presenters will include Antoinette Zeiss. Ph.D. of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Mental Health and members of NAMI's Veterans and Military Council from around the country.

NAMI is calling for better mental health care for active duty service member, National Guard troops and veterans and an end to stigma in military culture and the nation's broader society.

About NAMI

NAMI is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness. NAMI advocates for access to services, treatment, supports and research and is steadfast in its commitment to raising awareness and building a community of hope.