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Duncan Featured in Different Kind of Campaign Ad

Former Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan is lending his voice and personal story to a public service announcement to promote mental health services in tough economic times. Duncan, who withdrew from the 2006 governor's race to battle depression, is chairman of a campaign introduced today by the Mental Health Association of Montgomery County.

"I hope that by not being afraid to find the help I needed I can encourage others to find the support they need," Duncan said in a written statement issued by the association.

Duncan narrates the 30-second spot that will appear on the big screen before home games for the Nationals this month and the association is working to find a home for the ad on local cable and radio stations.

In the spot, Duncan says, "Today's world is a busy, stressful place and, in tough times, it can feel overwhelming....Mental health issues touch everyone. I should know, it has affected me and my family."

The association tracked an increase of 500 calls to its hotline between October and December of last year compared to the same period in 2007. The number of suicide assessments from those calls rose 50 percent.

By Ann Marimow  |  May 20, 2009; 2:31 PM ET
Categories:  Ann Marimow  
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Mr Duncan may or may not recall (or have even heard) that I was campaigning in part for Mental Healthcare Reform in Montgomery County.

It's clear that many people are under-served here in Montgomery, and it's important to understand that for those who most need these services, the present structure of delivery systems leaves much to be desired. Indeed, entire classes of disorders are improperly treated, and there has been a systematic failure of over-reliance on medication without sufficient "talking treatments" to help people develop or regain the habits of thinking which would enable them to keep an even keel or even enter into a lifestyle showing actual progress.

For the wealthy, or for those who have truly excellent and exceptional insurance coverage, mental health-care is available which is appropriate to the disorder or condition, and which really does tend to promote improvement. In particular, the sort of depression-axis disorders that plague the intelligentsia and the artistically-talented are very responsive to the wide range of modern medications.

Yet these medications, and the frequent tests necessary to assure the proper blood titers and to forestall various potential side-effects, are often utterly unaffordable to the impoverished and/or homeless in Montgomery, and so their depressive disorders may progress to full-blown psychosis, and that can be managed -- though not properly treated -- by cheap generic anti-psychotic drugs, which government clinics can pass out by the hat-full.

Should we, one of the nation's most wealthy counties and one of the most liberal and progressive ones in terms of public healthcare, continue to live with the shame that should be associated with the sadly true statement? "The rich get treatment, the poor are left to go mad".

Mr Duncan, feel free to get in touch. From what I hear, the ad you're running is paid for by one of the biggest offenders.

Posted by: thardman | May 21, 2009 10:32 AM | Report abuse

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