A new mental health awareness campaign is featuring a bipartisan message. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Democratic Congressman Brian Higgins and Republican Congressman Tom Reed are coming together for the BeKind2TheMind.
“One in five Americans experiences mental illness,” stated Congressman Higgins in a video. “60-percent of adult living with mental illness don’t receive the treatment they need,” Congressman Reed stated.
With so much divisiveness in the nation it is unusual to see two lawmakers from both sides of the aisle coming together on an issue. But when the Patrick Lee Foundation reached out to the lawmakers to raise awareness of mental illness. Reed and Higgins agreed to record the 30-second video ad.
“Congressman Reed and I are committed to working together across the political aisle to address this issue,” remarks Higgins in the video.
“And I think it was a natural fit for us to be brought together with Brian Higgins,” Reed said during a media conference call with reporters Wednesday.
Congressman Reed asked about the working with Higgins. The two normally disagree on topics, but now they say they are committed to identifying bipartisan solutions to deal with the nation's mental health needs.
“He’s committed to this. I’m committed to this and what unites us also is our commitment and love of our community and so to be able to stand with him with something easily done and rightfully done, because that is common ground that brings us together not only as democrats and republicans, but as Americans,” replied Reed.
“Certainly a very partisan climate right now,” remarked Jane Mogavero , executive director of the Lee Foundation.
“Seeing these two congressman sort of put aside differences and be working on a collaborative solution is encouraging to me,” Mogavero responded.
The Lee Foundation was established in 11-years ago. One of its key areas is dedicated to raising awareness and wiping out the stigma of Mental Health.
“The one common theme that you’ll see is that we want the people to share their opinions and voices with elected officials. There’s certainly not enough private foundation money to solve the problems of our community when it comes to mental illness,” said Mogavero.
“Good mental health helps us lead more productive lives,” Higgins said in the video. “Join us and make sure your voice is heard.” “Together, we can make a difference,” stated Reed.