Agency's Disappointing Response to Urgent Letter of Protest

Mr. Michael D. Ostrolenk
Director of Government Affairs
Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
316 Pennsylvania Ave., S.E., suite 203
Washington, D.C. 20003
Dear Mr. Ostrolenk:
Thank you for your letter following up on our October 17 meeting.  I appreciated the opportunity to hear directly from you and the representatives of the Alliance for Human Research Protection, EdWatch, Eagle Forum, the International Center for the Study of Psychiatry and Psychology, MindFreedom International, the Association of American Physicians and surgeons, and the American Psychoanalytic Association.
I have read your letter.  Your perspective is an important one to keep in mind as we work to achieve our vision at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of a "life in the community for everyone."  Our vision is built on the premise that people with or at risk for mental illnesses should have the opportunity for a fulfilling life that includes a job, a home, and meaningful personal relationships.
There are many pathways people with mental illnesses can take to achieve this vision of recovery, and there are many ways to transform mental health services to help prevent disability and to provide people with an opportunity for recovery.  SAMHSA is dedicated to ensuring that State and local leaders can make informed decisions about the most appropriate approach for mental health services and that people with mental illnesses fully participate in the development and achievement of their recovery plans.
I believe that if we continue to focus on the common ground espoused in the five guiding principles of the Federal Mental Health Action Agenda and in particular on Principle A (focus on the desired outcomes of mental health care which are to attain each individuals maximum level of employment, self-care, interpersonal relationships, and community participation), we will continue to have an ongoing, productive, and health dialogue.
                                                                                    Charles G. Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W.

For more background, read:
Urgent Letter of Protest to Federal Mental Health Agency from EdWatch and a Coalition of Groups
Federal Mental Health Agency Responds to EdWatch and Other Groups
Sounding the alarm: Infant mental health
Bias as Mental Illness
Urgent Letter of Protest