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Campaign to Change Mental Illness

Wednesday, March 4, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kay Castillo
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Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Contact: Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation, National Association of Social Workers, NC Chapter,


National Campaign Launches at Summit Featuring Government, Business and Non-Profit Leaders


 March 4, 2015, WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Social Workers, North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) announced today the involvement with ‘The Campaign to Change Direction,’ a national initiative to create a new story in America about mental health, mental illness and wellness. As part of the collective effort led by Give an Hour, NASW-NC joined 50 other campaign partners, including the National Association of Social Workers who is a founding member of the campaign, in this effort with its pledge to advocate for improved behavioral health care in North Carolina.

Many social workers provide behavioral health care for military service members, their families, and veterans, NASW-NC will focus on continuing education, resource sharing, and support and networking for social workers working in North Carolina to improve the lives of those impacted by mental illness.

Inspired by discussions at the White House National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, ‘Change Direction’ is a response to the way society addresses mental health. One in five Americans live with a diagnosable mental health condition, and it is expected that more Americans will die by suicide than in car accidents this year.

“NASW-NC is proud to join ‘The Campaign to Change Direction’ at a time when it is more important than ever to address the way mental health is talked about in our society. Social workers are the backbone of our mental health system and through our campaign pledge, we will provide continuing education, support, and advocacy to social workers across the state of North Carolina who are working in the state to end the stigma against mental illness,” Kay Castillo, Director of Advocacy, Policy, and Legislation.

The campaign launched at a mental health summit at the Newseum on March 4, which included a keynote address from First Lady Michelle Obama, an appearance by Academy Award-winning producer of “Silver Linings Playbook,” Brue Cohen, and a performance by G.R.L., a musical girl group that was personally touched by the issue when their lead singer, Simone Battle, committed suicide in September 2014.

“Give an Hour is proud to lead this collective impact effort of partners from every sector of society as we change the direction of mental health in our nation. By creating a shared mission, by educating Americans about the five signs of emotional suffering, by encouraging compassion and action, we can change our culture to reflect what we know to be true—that mental health is not something to be afraid of or embarrassed about,” said Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, founder and president of Give an Hour.

NASW-NC encourages individuals and other organizations to “help change the direction” of mental health in our country and let your voices be heard by joining us in making a pledge, however large or small.  To learn more or to make a pledge to Change Direction, visit

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