Paton Blough delivered a wonderful speech about his life with mental illness, his recovery and his advocacy efforts at the Stepping Up initiative in Washington DC. Paton had the honor of speaking along with Representative Patrick Kennedy and Senator Al Franken. Rep Kennedy, the head of the Kennedy Forum–an organization working toward lasting change in the way mental health and addictions are treated in our healthcare system. Following are some highlights from Paton’s speech
What is Stepping Up?
Stepping Up is a national initiative designed to push counties nationwide to work on access to mental health treatment and alternatives to jail for people with mental illnesses. NAMI is working with a powerful coalition of national organizations, including the Council of State Governments Justice Center, the National Association of Counties, the American Psychiatric Foundation and numerous law enforcement, mental health and substance abuse organizations. The initiative will challenge county, state and local leaders to work together to find solutions that work for the local community. Counties will be asked to follow a step-by-step process to build partnerships, assess current practices and develop a plan to implement research-based programs and services. It will also support local leaders by providing resources and examples of effective reforms and connecting them with other communities that are successfully reducing the number of people with mental illness in jails.