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New Committee Works Towards Resilience and Recovery for Washington Area Communities

COG’s Human Services Policy Committee recently established the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Committee (SAMH) to work on regional issues of mental health and substance abuse. The group will address both short-term concerns (the effects of terrorism and its threats) and long-term solutions (improving mental wellness and resiliency to changes).

Growing concerns about terrorism, the war in Iraq, and the state of the economy have raised concerns among local health professionals about possible increases in substance abuse and mental health issues. A strong infrastructure is essential to coordinate mental wellness and substance abuse treatment and prevention services in our area. It is important to empower Washington area residents to cope with personal emergencies as well as regional crises.  “The best way to prepare our citizens for an emergency is to tend to their emotional needs on an ongoing basis,” said Gary Lupton, chair of the SAMH Committee. “People are better able to respond if they are in a better place to begin with.”

One of the immediate tasks of the SAMH Committee is to further develop the Health, Mental Health and Medical Services section of COG’s Regional Emergency Coordination PlanSM.  Another of its tasks will be providing additional training opportunities for mental health professionals and emphasizing the need for and cost effectiveness of mental health and substance abuse services through informational materials. The committee will meet on the second Thursday in July, September, and November. For more information, contact Sandra Adomako-Bempong at 202-962-3275.


Release Date: Jun 6, 2003

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