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Tipper Gore On Mental Health

One of the often forgotten consequences of the attacks of Sept. 11 is the toll it has taken on the mental health of the victims, their families and friends, and others throughout the nation.

So Tipper Gore, a longtime advocate of mental-health issues, is holding town meetings to address these problems. She already has conducted one in Washington, D.C., and now she is meeting with New Yorkers, who some fear may be ignoring their mental-health issues.

"The whole nation needs to know that there are specific effects from the
terrorist attack that have mental-health components and that there is help for people," Mrs. Gore told The Early Show Co-Anchor Jane Clayson, noting that not everybody has been taking advantage of the mental health resources available.

Mrs. Gore, who founded the National Mental Health Awareness Campaign (NMHAC)in 1999, has been working to eradicate the fear, shame and stigma commonly associated with mental illness and educate the public about the need to seek help.

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"We want to be sure that everyone knows that it's there to take advantage of. The reason is, because it's mental health, (so) there is still a stigma attached to getting help," Mrs. Gore said.

The National Mental Health Awareness Campaign is developing an initiative that will address the longterm emotional and mental health needs of the nation in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and ongoing war against terrorism.

The National Town Hall Series, titled "Healing the American Spirit," is designed to give Americans the opportunity to voice their fears, concerns, and emotions in the wake of these terrifying events, and gain credible and professional advice on how to cope.

"We are living in a day and time right now where we have daily warnings that there's another imminent attack. And what that has done, is it has raised the anxiety level of New Yorkers, of people in Washington, people around the country. So we need to know: What are the symptoms of mental health effects, particularly among kids' nightmares (and) recurring thoughts about the event? And what is it we can do? There's help there. And you can access it," Mrs. Gore said.

Mrs. Gore is the Honorary Chair of The National Mental Health Awareness Campaign. Earlier this year, her name was floated as a possible Senate candidate for Tennessee, but she opted not to run.

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