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Advocates, Lawmakers Urge Attention to Mental Health

Ben Adler
Capital Public Radio Network

Mental health advocates and a top California lawmaker are starting a public awareness campaign in the aftermath of last Friday’s school shooting in Connecticut. 

Their message: Don’t be afraid of the stigma associated with mental health problems, and get help quickly if you see symptoms in someone you know or love.

Doctor Cameron Carter with the UC Davis Medical Center says most serious mental illnesses first become apparent in adolescents and young adults.

“There’s a growing body of evidence to suggest that the best outcomes from treatment are when the treatment is made available at the very earliest stage in the emergence of symptoms,” says Carter.

Carter says symptoms often include difficulty concentrating, a drop in school or work performance and a decreasing interest in friendships.

State Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg is urging the task force led by Vice President Biden to create a national system for treating mental health that’s modeled after California’s, and match state funding dollar-for-dollar.

24-Hour Mental Health Crisis Hotlines:

Fresno County            800-654-3937
Kern County                800-991-5272
Kings County              559-582-4484 or 800-655-2553
Madera County           559-673-3508 or 888-275-9779
Mariposa County        209-966-7000 or 888-974-3574
Merced County           209-381-6800 or 888-334-0163
Tulare County             800-320-1616

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