August 16, 2007
To the Editor:
The New York Times recently reported plans by Google and Microsoft to improve the nation’s health care. We applaud the efforts of internet giants Google and Microsoft to raise the bar on access to health care. In order to make these efforts whole, the issue of mental health care must be addressed.
As the phenomenal talent behind these two visionary corporations focuses on changing health care, it is vital that accurate and relevant information about mental health care and mental illness are as prominently displayed as other health issues. The benefits of accurate information are positive outcomes that include timely diagnoses as well as effective treatment and rehabilitation. These outcomes lead to wellness and recovery, reducing not only the symptoms of mental illness but collateral damage such as loss of employment, poverty, and isolation.
Stigma is a primary barrier to treatment for those living with mental illness. The stigma of mental illness within the health care community further contributes to this problem when mental health care is not afforded its rightful place in the individual and family health dynamic. When mental illnesses are treated like all other biological disorders the result is a stronger community.
We need leaders with the power to champion a health care issue that affects us all. In light of their extraordinary potential to positively impact the way people access and understand health care, we invite Google and Microsoft to use that potential to become a dynamic player in the effort to educate the public about mental illness and the stigma that surrounds it.
Celina Gray, Executive Director
NJ Governor's Council on Mental Health Stigma