NYAPRS Note: Ron Manderscheid’s vision and guidance has informed and inspired so many movements and sectors in our nation for almost 3 decades. This week, Ron issued this stirring call to look at how far we’ve come in responding the 3 key elements of the nation’s original Declaration of Independence. He asks:
Life: Do those with behavioral health conditions have equity in length and quality of life?
Liberty: Do they have a full life in the community governed by self-determination?
Pursuit of Happiness: Do they enjoy happiness, with good personal well-being?
He finds that “many things are at crisis levels as they were on July 4, 1776” and calls on us to develop an action plan to address the daunting challenges of the day, e.g. “suicides and opioid deaths both are at epidemic levels, a record number of persons with behavioral health conditions are incarcerated in our county and city jails and the majority of persons with serious behavioral health conditions receive no care at all.”
In this piece, he challenges us to take decisive action over the next 7 years so that we can celebrate historic progress for our community as we celebrate the 250th anniversary of the original Declaration of Independence.
A Declaration of Behavioral Health Rights and Actions
by Ron Manderscheid, PhD, Executive Director, NACBHDD and NARMH
BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE EXECUTIVE, July 2, 2019
This Independence Day will mark the 243rd anniversary of our national Declaration of Independence. This monumental document was signed by 56 very courageous souls in Philadelphia on a torturous, hot summer day. Our declaration rings true across the centuries—everyone has inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; governments are instituted to secure these rights; and government should be organized to best effect safety and happiness. We stand in awe of these assertions down to this very July 4.
Just seven short years from now, we will celebrate the 250th anniversary of this exceptional, far-reaching event. From today’s perspective, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness represent an excellent framework for behavioral health in order to prepare for, celebrate, and move beyond this once-ever anniversary.
The need to do this is very great. Suicides and opioid deaths both are at epidemic levels. A record number of persons with behavioral health conditions are incarcerated in our county and city jails. The majority of persons with serious behavioral health conditions receive no care at all. Many things are at crisis levels as they were on July 4, 1776.