NEW ORLEANS – Professional athletes, biomedical researchers and community members will be joining a forum on Wednesday, September 8th at The Sheraton Hotel (500 Canal Street) in New Orleans to discuss the growing epidemic of dementia in America. It is part of an overall discussion of mental health issues and associated stigmas that can prevent proper recognition and care of these challenges.
The facts are disturbing:
- An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – about one in four adults – suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year.
- People living with mental illness are dying 25 years earlier than the rest of the population, due in part, to unmanaged physical health conditions.
Recognizing this reality and the impact of stigma on mental health, the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine has teamed up with the National Football League to host a series of "town-hall" forums around the country. These forums will educate, motivate and mobilize communities to work together at a grass-roots level to address important issues like dementia, depression, financial and relationship stress, drug and alcohol abuse, among others.
Communities will be coached on creating "game plans" for reducing the stigma associated with mental illness and encouraging timely and effective responses to mental disorders. The NFL is involved because of the well-recognized connection between sports related brain trauma and increased risk of dementia and other mental disorders.
"It is critical to understand that mental health is essential to the well-being of all," said Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute at Morehouse School of Medicine. "Although mental disorders are common and sometimes disabling they are also treatable."
The September 8th forum at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans will be held from 7-9 p.m. and will include presentations by:
- Dr. David Satcher – former U.S. Surgeon General
- Mark Kelso – former NFL player (Buffalo Bills)
- Chamique Holdsclaw – current WNBA player
- Sylvia Mackey – wife of retired NFL player John Mackey (Baltimore Colts)
Details on Wednesday's forum at the Sheraton Hotel: