"Mental illness is not something which strikes some other person in some other family. It strikes one American in ten.
—It fills nearly half our Nation’s hospital beds.
—It costs States and communities more than $3 billion each year—often for inadequate care.
—It costs the Nation $20 billion each year in lost wages and taxes.
And the cost in anguish and sorrow is far beyond counting.
Three and a half years ago our country decided to face, boldly and frankly, this major health problem—to face it with a major health program: Community Mental Health Centers.
All of us can remember when the problem of mental illness was veiled in ignorance and shame and superstition. Not long ago, a sick or deeply troubled person was hidden away—treated more as a prisoner than as a patient; locked in a faraway place whose very name struck fear, the insane asylum.…
But there are still many items of unfinished business, many problems yet to be solved:
—The total number of patients in mental hospitals is down. But the number of young patients is going up.
—Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in our society. But among college students, it is the third leading cause.
—Dependence upon drugs is a growing problem. And more than half the Nation’s narcotics addicts are under 30.
I see this bill as one way to prevent such tragedies. I see this bill not as an isolated effort, but as part of our total health strategy. I see it as a sign that marks the distance we have come away from superstition, toward enlightenment….
We are taking another step toward a better life for every family. We renew our pledge to the poor, to the sick, to every citizen. We will meet our commitments abroad. But nothing will keep us from meeting them at home.”