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Victory! Sandy Hook Promise Applauds Final Passage of the Mental Health Reform Bill

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        

Dini von Mueffling Communications

                                                                                                                                                          Stephanie Morris

Stephanie@dvmcpr.com

646-650-5005

 

Victory! Sandy Hook Promise Applauds Final Passage of the

Mental Health Reform Bill in the 21st Century Cures Act

The Senate passes the bill 94-5 and helps ensure those struggling with mental health receive the access and care they deserve

 

Washington. D.C.— Today the Senate took a significant step to save lives across the country by voting 94-5 to pass the 21st Century Cares Act, which will enact meaningful reforms to the country’s mental health and criminal justice systems, as well as fund research into cancer and other diseases. For nearly four years, SHP has worked tirelessly to pass mental health reform legislation to ensure that those in distress have access to the services they need. This is a tremendous victory for the organization, as well as those it partnered with to pass this very important legislation including American Psychiatric Association, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American Psychological Association, the Eating Disorders Coalition, Mental Health America, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

 

Sandy Hook Promise praises the steadfast dedication of the Senators it also worked closely with to help pass this bill including, Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Patty Murray (D-WA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), John Cornyn (R-TX), and Al Franken (D-MN). President Obama praised the bill during his weekly address on Saturday and is expected to quickly sign it.

 

“It was a team effort to get this bill done,” said Senator Chris Murphy of Connecticut after Congress passed the 21st Century Cures Act. “There was a big question this fall as to whether the Mental Health Reform Act will be part of this package…[but] there was a turning point moment that Sandy Hook Promise and Mark [Barden] had big role in.”

 

Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) who lost his first-grade son, Daniel Barden, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, commented on the bill’s passage, “The passing of this bill is such a monumental success for us at Sandy Hook Promise and all of the mental health organizations that we partnered with who have worked tirelessly for nearly four years to pass the mental health reform. I applaud the outstanding leadership of our Senators and Representatives, as this bill will help millions of people in need. This legislation begins to do the critical work of prioritizing early intervention and increasing access to mental health services and suicide prevention programs. And we are ready for the work ahead.”

 

The 21st Century Cures Act aims to strengthen federal coordination of mental health resources, increase reporting on mental health parity, advance integrated service delivery, support the mental health workforce, increase early access to mental health services, promote suicide prevention and enact meaningful reforms to criminal justice systems. New work is also expected in the field of immunotherapy, a promising treatment for cancer and in the study of the brain, which could bring discoveries on Alzheimer’s disease and mental illness, as well as expands treatment for those battling drug addiction.

               

About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a non-partisan national nonprofit formed and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Based in Newtown, Connecticut, SHP’s sole purpose is to prevent gun violence BEFORE it happens so that no other parents experience the senseless, horrific loss of their child.  SHP delivers four, at no cost, Know the Signs programs that teach youth and adults to recognize signs and signals of individuals who may be at-risk of hurting themselves or others and intervene to get them help before it is too late. SHP’s Know the Signs programs have helped stop a school shooting, multiple suicide and firearm threats, while also intervening to help individuals get mental health assistance. Additionally, SHP advocates for sensible state and federal violence prevention policy in the areas of mental health and wellness identification, intervention and treatment as well as firearm access and storage. To bring SHP’s Know the Signs programs to your school or community or help advocate for sensible policy, visit sandyhookpromise.org.

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Sandy Hook Promise Debuts PSA to Teach How to “Know the Signs”

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                   

Dini von Mueffing Communications

Dini von Mueffling / Stephanie Morris

Dini@dvmcpr.com / Stephanie@dvcmpr.com

646-650-5005

 

Sandy Hook Promise, Leading National Gun Violence

Prevention Organization, Debuts PSA to Teach How to “Know the Signs”

BBDO Creates Provocative Video to Expose Warning Signs of Gun Violence

 

Newtown, CT– December 2, 2016 – Almost 4 years after the tragedy that struck Sandy Hook Elementary School, there continues to be no reduction in the number of gun violence acts committed each and every day. In the aftermath, families and communities are often left wondering what they could have done differently to have stopped it. Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), a leading national gun violence prevention organization, wants to help prevent acts of gun violence before they start through their no cost “Know the Signs” programs. SHP’s programs teach youth and adults how to recognize an individual exhibiting at-risk behaviors and how to effectively intervene to get them help BEFORE they hurt themselves or others.

 

Sadly, it has been reported that 80% of school shooters and 70% of individuals who completed suicides told someone of their violent plans prior to taking action – yet no interventions weren’t made. Working with award-winning advertising agency BBDO New York, SHP is launching a powerful PSA titled “Evan” to educate viewers that very often warning signs are given off before an act of violence occurs – but sometimes we don’t see what is right in front of us.   

 

The short film is the story of Evan, a teen counting down the days to summer break, who demonstrates his boredom by writing on a table in the school library. The next day he finds someone has responded back. While we watch Evan’s story, another darker tale is unfolding simultaneously, but no one notices. You can view the piece in its entirety here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8syQeFtBKc .

 

“When you don’t know what to look for or can’t recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant. That can lead to tragic consequences, including someone hurting themselves or others”, said Nicole Hockley, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise who lost her first-grade son Dylan in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. “It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence – these acts are preventable when you know the signs.  Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives.”

 

“Through ‘Evan,' we sought to show how different your perspective can be when you’re aware of the signs,” said Greg Hahn, Chief Creative Officer of BBDO New York. "We’ve been fortunate to work with the inspiring people at Sandy Hook Promise to help parents, students, and teachers better identify these signs.”

 

“Evan” demonstrates the problem that SHP is working to solve through their four “Know the Signs” research-based programs, provided at no cost to schools and community organizations. In just 22 months, SHP has already trained 1.5 million students, teachers school officials and parents in all 50 states in at least one of its programs.

 

As a result of their “Know the Signs” training, SHP has helped intervene on multiple threats – including a school shooting, suicides and bringing firearms to schools, as well as helping to reduce bullying and getting hundreds of individuals mental health assistance.

 

Like other public health issues, including heart attacks, domestic violence and strokes, PSAs have historically been a powerful tool in educating Americans on recognizing signs of someone needing help. SHP’s Know the Signs campaign is no different. BBDO New York seized the opportunity to expand SHP’s mission and educate millions with this powerful and educational PSA.

 

About Sandy Hook Promise

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a non-partisan national nonprofit formed and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012.  Based in Newtown, Connecticut, SHP’s sole purpose is to prevent gun violence BEFORE it happens so that no other parents experience the senseless, horrific loss of their child.  SHP delivers, at no cost, four Know the Signs programs that teach youth and adults to recognize signs of individuals who may be at-risk of hurting themselves or others and intervene to get them help before it is too late.  SHP’s Know the Signs programs have helped stop a school shooting, multiple suicide and firearm threats, while also intervening to help individuals get mental health assistance.  Additionally, SHP advocates for sensible state and federal policy that helps prevents at-risk individuals from hurting themselves or others, including limiting their access to firearms until they are deemed fit. To bring SHP’s Know the Signs programs to your school or community or help advocate for sensible policy, visit sandyhookpromise.org.

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Sandy Hook Promise Applauds House for the Passage of Mental Health Reform Bill in the 21st Century Cures Act, Calls on Senate to Pass Bill Into Law

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                        

Dini von Mueffling Communications

                                                                                                                                                          Stephanie Morris

Stephanie@dvmcpr.com

646-650-5005

 

Sandy Hook Promise Applauds House for the Passage of

Mental Health Reform Bill in the 21st Century Cures Act

Calls on Senate to Pass Bill Into Law

 

Washington. D.C.— November 30th, 2016 – Today, in one of the most sweeping and rare bipartisan acts of this Congress, lawmakers passed legislation to enact meaningful reforms to our mental health and criminal justice systems, as well as fund research into cancer and other diseases. Sandy Hook Promise applauds the steadfast dedication of U.S. Representatives Tim Murphy, Eddie Bernice Johnson and the House for taking the crucial step in passing the 21st Century Cures Act. Today marks a positive first step to improve access to mental health services.

 

Mark Barden, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) who lost his first-grade son, Daniel Barden, at Sandy Hook Elementary School, commented on the bill’s passage, ”This bill will enable those who have been touched by mental health conditions to finally have a sense of hope. SHP was proud to support the tireless effort that Representatives Murphy and Johnson, the House and the mental health community put in over the past three years to pass these reforms. This legislation begins to do the critical work of prioritizing early intervention, increasing access to mental health services, and combating suicide in our schools and communities. It is a major victory for all of us and the people it will help. We urge the Senate to quickly pass the bill into law and the President to sign it.”

 

H.R. 34 aims to strengthen federal coordination of mental health resources, increase reporting on mental health parity, advance integrated service delivery, support the mental health workforce, increase early access to mental health services and promote suicide prevention. The legislation also includes important criminal justice measures that will facilitate collaboration among the criminal justice, juvenile justice, mental health treatment and substance use disorder systems to ensure those with mental health conditions receive the treatment and help they need.

               

After the momentous passage in the House, Sandy Hook Promise calls upon the Senate to pass this bill into law.

 

About Sandy Hook Promise: Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a non-partisan national nonprofit formed and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Based in Newtown, Connecticut, SHP’s sole purpose is to prevent gun violence BEFORE it happens so that no other parents experience the senseless, horrific loss of their child.  SHP delivers four, at no cost, Know the Signs programs that teach youth and adults to recognize signs and signals of individuals who may be at-risk of hurting themselves or others and intervene to get them help before it is too late. SHP’s Know the Signs programs have helped stop a school shooting, multiple suicide and firearm threats, while also intervening to help individuals get mental health assistance. Additionally, SHP advocates for sensible state and federal violence prevention policy in the areas of mental health and wellness identification, intervention and treatment as well as firearm access and storage. To bring SHP’s Know the Signs programs to your school or community or help advocate for sensible policy, visit sandyhookpromise.org.

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Letter to House Leadership: Pass Mental Health Reform

Mental Health Liaison Group

The Honorable Paul Ryan
Speaker
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi
Minority Leader
H-204, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515 

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy
Majority Leader
U.S. House of Representatives
H-107, The Capitol
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Steny Hoyer
Minority Whip
U.S. House of Representatives
1705 Longworth H.O.B.
Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Speaker Ryan, Minority Leader Pelosi, Majority Leader McCarthy, and Minority Whip Hoyer:

We, the undersigned organizations, write today in strong support of mental health reform provisions contained in the bicameral and bipartisan end-of-year healthcare package currently being advanced, and we urge the House to pass these provisions as soon as possible.

As you know, we have a mental health crisis in this country. Over 68 million Americans have experienced a mental health or substance use disorder in the past year, which is more than 20 percent of the total population of the United States. Lifetime rates are much higher with some estimates approaching 50 percent. More striking, in 2014, nearly 43,000 Americans died by suicide. Many individuals with mental health or substance use conditions are unable to access or receive the appropriate services and supports for these disorders, and they remain constantly challenged by mental health service delivery systems that are largely fragmented and uncoordinated across the country.

Thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA), Representative Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), and others, Congress has prioritized mental health reform efforts over the past three years. We are pleased that the underlying healthcare package incorporates H.R. 2646, the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which passed the House nearly unanimously in July. These important bipartisan provisions strengthen federal coordination of mental health resources, increase reporting on mental health parity, advance integrated service delivery, support the mental health workforce, increase early access to mental health services, promote suicide prevention, and enact meaningful reforms to criminal justice systems.

The need for reform is urgent, and you have the opportunity to act now to improve the lives of tens of millions of Americans, their families, and our communities.

We urge you to enact mental health reform legislation this year.

Sincerely,

American Academy of Pediatrics
American Art Therapy Association
American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry
American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy
American Dance Therapy Association
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
American Group Psychotherapy Association
American Nurses Association
American Occupational Therapy Association
American Psychiatric Association
American Psychological Association
Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Association for Ambulatory Behavioral Healthcare
Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness
Center for Clinical Social Work
The Clinical Social Work Association
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Eating Disorders Coalition
Emergency Nurses Association
The Jewish Federations of North America
Mental Health America
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health
National Association for Children’s Behavioral Health
National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors
National Council for Behavioral Health
National Health Care for the Homeless Council*
National League for Nursing
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society*
The National Register of Health Service Psychologists
No Health without Mental Health
Parity Implementation Coalition**
Sandy Hook Promise
Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America
School Social Work Association of America
Tourette Association of America
The Trevor Project
Trinity Health, Livonia MI*


*Affiliate Member
**not MHLG member

 

 National organizations representing consumers, family members, advocates, professionals and providers c/o Laurel Stine, J.D., American Psychological Association at lstine@apa.org and Debbie Plotnick, MSS, MLSP, Mental Health America at dplotnick@mentalhealthamerica.net

SHP Post-Election Statement

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Dear Sandy Hook Partners, Friends and Family,

Over the last week, some of you reached out with concerns about the impact of the election on the work of Sandy Hook Promise (SHP).  We want to reassure you that, from where we sit, nothing has changed.  To achieve sustained gun violence prevention, we must shift our culture and build a significant base of Americans to demand change.  This will take time and is not influenced by one election.

As we have said many times and you have witnessed over the last 4 years, national gun violence prevention will not happen until we get Americans committed to it. This requires investment in changing attitudes and behaviors – social and cultural change, beginning at the grassroots community level.  Specifically, this means engaging and building an “influential majority” of Americans from all sides of the issue - the left, sensible center and center-right – to engage in prevention and pass legislation. This is SHP’s mission. You don’t need a gun violence prevention President to do this.

SHP has and will continue to engage multiple generations of Americans – adults and adolescents in red and blue states alike – through our education campaigns and prevention programs.  In just 3+ years, we have educated and built a relationship with over 900,000 Americans from every state and all sides of the issue.  Additionally, in the last 18 months, we have trained over 1,000,000 youth and adults in our Know the Signs gun violence prevention programs.  Louisiana, Alaska, Mississippi, Florida, California, Illinois, New York and everyone in between are joining and learning our programs – the demand is high.  Our country needs violence prevention programs, mental wellness support and social inclusion efforts more than ever – and SHP is ready to deliver.

We know that change happens from the bottom up and that’s why Sandy Hook Promise is committed to supporting critical policy efforts that start at the state level.  On Election Day, we witnessed the power of states and our collective voices when voters in Washington, Nevada and California passed laws to prevent gun violence before it happens. We’ll continue to work hard supporting state initiatives working with leaders, legislators and voters in the most rural and urban communities to pass laws that strengthen mental health care in our schools and give educators the tools they need to combat youth violence, bullying and suicide.

Federally, we look forward to working with allies old and new, Republican and Democrat, to continue to build national support for sensible gun safety and mental wellness legislation.  We’ve been working for four years to pass the Mental Health Reform Act, now at its final hurdle in the Senate, and we won’t stop until this bill becomes law.

Over the next three years, SHP will double our base and triple our prevention program reach – specifically targeting the states and cities experiencing the highest rates of violent crimes and death by firearm.  At this rate, we expect to have the critical mass and reach our “influential majority” of Americans by 2026.  This may seem “too long”, but consider organizations who oppose our approach – these groups required over 30 years to build the influence they have today.    

Our country may be divided politically, but we’re keeping our promise to bring people together from all walks of life, backgrounds and beliefs for one common, universal purpose – to prevent gun violence before it happens. 

Please continue to help us by sharing our message, building our influential majority base, supporting our Know the Signs programs and donating to fuel our growth.   Be assured that we will never stop acting on the promise we made our sons Dylan and Daniel almost four years ago.   No election will deter us … and we know it won’t deter you either. 

Onwards.  Promise. 

Nicole Hockley (Dylan’s Mom) and Mark Barden (Daniel’s Dad)

Sandy Hook Dad Mark Barden on Maine's Background Check Initiative, Question 3

 

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Nearly 4 years ago, our 7-year-old son Daniel was taken from our family. This kindhearted, freckle-faced boy was killed in his first-grade classroom at Sandy Hook Elementary along with 19 other children.

The horrific events of December 14th 2012 have changed our lives forever. I have now committed the rest of my life to finding ways to spare other families from living this pain. We have made some progress, but there is still much to do and we need your help.

Right now in Maine, felons, domestic abusers, and the most dangerous people can easily and anonymously buy guns from unlicensed sellers. No background check is required. Police from neighboring states routinely recover guns used in crimes that were purchased in states, like Maine, were this loophole exists.

This Tuesday, voters in Maine, have a chance to close these dangerous loopholes and take a simple step to help protect our kids and families from gun violence.

I am proud to support Question 3 on Maine’s ballot, and I am urging all the fathers, mothers, and concerned citizens in Maine to vote yes on Question 3 to require background checks for all gun sales in Maine.

Background checks take only a few minutes to complete. Since the background check system was started, it has blocked more than two million sales of guns to dangerous people.

In states that have background checks on all gun sales, almost 50% fewer women are killed by their partners and 50% fewer police officers are killed on duty. Background checks work, and I think Maine voters will agree that we should let them work for Maine.

I know that no single law can stop all gun violence and nothing will bring our sweet, little Daniel back. But we have a responsibility to our kids and our communities to start somewhere.

Please vote yes on Question 3 this Tuesday.

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Nevada's Background Check Initiative, Question 1

Travis Spitler was barred by law from buying a gun, but he easily found a way around the restriction.

Spitler connected with a private seller and lied about his background, which included an open domestic violence case in Arizona and a domestic protective order filed against him.

And just like that, Spitler purchased the .357-caliber revolver he used to kill his ex-girlfriend, Christina Franklin, and wound her two children before turning the gun on himself.

 

SHP proudly supports Nevada's background check initiative, Question 1, to keep children and families safer from gun violence. 

Read more about Question 1 HERE

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99.9% of Americans will know a victim of gun violence in their lifetime

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Almost every single American—99.85%—will know at least one victim of gun violence during his or her lifetime, a recent analysis in the journal Preventive Medicine estimates.

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Read more HERE.