Mr. Speaker, many of our fellow citizens and their families face the challenges of mental illness. I am told that 50% of emergency room admissions are related to mental illness. Fourteen billion health care dollars each year go toward the treatment of mental illness.
Mental illness is not just a health issue. Problems in the workplace and family setting are also factors. We need to strongly affirm the personal dignity and worth of every individual, including those with mental illness. These fellow citizens need to be assured of their valued and active roles in our communities.
Disability payments alone will not provide needed integration into the larger society. We also need more mental illness research to find new and better ways to relieve those affected by mental illness. We need to be aware of ways to promote good mental health in ourselves and in others around us.
I trust that each of us will set aside a little time during the upcoming Mental Illness Awareness Week to reflect on these important considerations.