Mental-health parity legislation is going to happen this year, said Linda Rosenberg, president and chief executive officer for the National Council of Community Behavioral Healthcare, after a luncheon about mental health during the Democratic National Convention in Denver.
Sponsored by drug company AstraZeneca and the group Campaign for Mental Health Reform, the luncheon was hosted by the Creative Coalition, a not-for-profit social and public organization of the arts and entertainment community that was established in 1989.
Rep. Patrick Kennedy of Rhode Island was a featured speaker, and attendees included Academy-Award winning actresses Ellen Burstyn and Susan Sarandon, Diner director Barry Levinson, actress Anne Hathaway and actor Matthew Modine. Mental health sounds dirty; it sounds weak, Modine said of the stigma that exists about mental health. But its not something to be ashamed of, and knowledge is power, he added.
Mental health is coming into its own and this is a way to get celebrities and elected officials to recognize mental health is a part of health, said Rosenberg, whose association is a member of Campaign for Mental Health Reform. Rosenberg also expressed confidence that mental-health legislationwhich passed separately in the House and Senate in the past yearwill pass this year because it is part of the alternative minimum tax bill that must pass. Rep. Henry Waxman of California said Congress has not had cooperation from the Bush administration on this issue. Waxman did not say if he thought the bill would become law this year. Im not willing to give up, Waxman said. -- by Jessica Zigmond