Mental Health: A Report of the Surgen General

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Satcher, David
Satcher, David (1999) Mental Health: A Report of the Surgen General. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Rockville, MD.
The past century has witnessed extraordinary progress in our improvement of the public health through medical sciencea nd ambitious, often innovative, approachest o health care services.P revious Surgeons General reports have saluted our gains while continuing to set ever higher benchmarks for the public health. Through much of this era of great challenge and greater achievement, however, concerns regarding mental illness and mental health too often were relegated to the rear of our national consciousness. Tragic and devastating disorders such as schizophrenia, depression and bipolar disorder, Alzheimer’s disease, the mental and behavioral disorders suffered by children, and a range of other mental disorders affect nearly one in five Americans in any year, yet continue too frequently to be spoken of in whispers and shame. Fortunately, leaders in the mental health field-fiercely dedicated advocates, scientists, government officials, and consumers-have been insistent that mental health flow in the mainstream of health. I agree and issue this report in that spirit. This report makes evident that the neuroscience of mental health-a term that encompasses studies extending from molecular events to psychological, behavioral, and societal phenomena-has emerged as one of the most exciting arenas of scientific activity and human inquiry. We recognize that the brain is the integrator of thought, emotion, behavior, and health. Indeed, one of the foremost contributions of contemporary mental health research is the extent to which it has mended the destructive split between “mental’ and “physical” health.