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Coalition News

April 2009
US Preventive Services Task
Force Urges Routine Adolescent Mental Health Screening

Institute of Medicine
Calls for Evidence-based
Screening for Youth

March 19, 2009
Capitol Hill Briefing
Media Advisory

Press Release

Transcript from September 10th
Online Launch Event

CheckUp08 Officially Launches
Read the Press Release



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Your Representatives

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As concerned advocates in the mental health community,
we are urging you to call your U.S. Senators and U.S. Representative to include mental health checkups in the
health care reform package being developed by the
Congress and President Obama. While all forms of communication are encouraged, calling your elected
officials and their staff directly will be the most effective
way to influence change in federal health care reform.

In the United States, 14 million children and adolescents
have a diagnosable mental health disorder that requires intervention or monitoring, and interferes with daily functioning. We also know that 30,000 Americans take their lives each year and that 500,000 adolescents make suicide attempts. However, we have a unique opportunity to prevent suicide by ensuring that America’s young people between the age of 12 and 18 are screened for mental health problems regularly when they visit the doctor for their annual exam.
This will help identify an illness early and assist parents in determining the best course of care for their children.
However, this won’t happen unless you act.

Please call your Senators and Representative today to urge them to include mental health checkups in the health reform package. For your reference, there are some sample talking points listed below. If you have a personal story to tell, please share it when you call. Sharing a personal story is a compelling way to garner interest from elected officials about the issues important to you and your family.

Talking Points

  • Suicide takes the life of 30,000 Americans each year, while 500,000 adolescents make a suicide attempt.
  • Yet, suicide is preventable. It is often the tragic consequence of an undiagnosed or untreated
    mental illness.
  • However, we now know that a simple screening given
    to adolescents age 12 to 18 can identify warning signs.
  • As the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force has recommended, annual mental health checkups given through the annual exam can identify an illness early and help doctors and parents determine the best
    course of care.
  • We need you to be our champion by asking President Obama and other congressional leaders to integrate mental health checkups into all public and private
    health programs.
  • Mental health checkups can save lives.

You may find your local legislators by inputting your zip code at this site: http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml or by calling the Congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.

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