Stars, President Push for Mental Health Reform

By: CBS
By: CBS

Hollywood stars are helping President Obama create a buzz about the need to address mental health issues in America. The conference is part of the response to last year's deadly Connecticut school shooting.

Academy Award winner Glenn Close is at the White House talking about the need to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness.

"Everyone in this room needs to work to start the conversation and end it."

The actress's sister and nephew have both been diagnosed with mental health disorders. Her non-profit works to fight discrimination against patients.

"The amount of talent that we are losing because we are not taking care of people with mental illness is catastrophic."

Monday's conference is aimed at continuing the discussion about how to help those suffering from mental illness.

"We see commercials on T.V. about a whole array of physical problems - some of them very personal," President Obama said. "People laugh, and yet we whisper about mental health issues."

President Obama pushed for a new focus on mental health treatment, as well as gun control, after the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut.

Sixty percent of people with mental illness don't get help. The White House wants to change that.

Beginning next year, people with mental illness will have an easier time getting health insurance.

Under the Affordable Care Act, patients with mental issues can't be denied coverage. President Obama's 2014 budget also calls for $130 million to help train educators to recognize early signs of mental illness in students.

Mental illness is also an issue for veterans. President Obama announced VA centers nationwide will hold summits to tackle mental health in the military community.


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