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DESTINATION DIGNITY: The March for Dignity and Change in Mental Health

Written by Bruce Cruser

Bruce Cruser has been Executive Director of Mental Health Virginia since 2016, bringing a background in social work and community corrections, and many years of leadership experience in local and state government.

August 27, 2015

August 24, 2015, 12 p.m.; National Mall, Washington, DC

The moment has come to stand up for the dignity and rights of Americans affected by mental health conditions!

On any given day, more than 60 million Americans, up to 1 in 5, are living with mental health and substance use conditions, including intense psychological distress. Yet it is still considered acceptable to fear, ridicule and discriminate against Americans with mental health conditions, also known as mental illnesses. Our nation’s negative response to mental illnesses creates barriers to recovery—fostering despair, isolation, and the death by suicide of over 40,000 Americans annually. We say enough!

At the Destination Dignity March, people personally affected by mental health challenges, distress and suicide will step forward, along with our supporters, to demand change for the health of our nation. We say enough!

We call for an America in which every person affected by mental health challenges is valued in their communities and supported with the right kind of help when and where they need it.


WHAT: Destination Dignity is a collaborative project for change and public engagement around mental health in America. The Destination Dignity March will bring together people from around the nation and the world, with individuals affected by mental health conditions in the lead, to create energy and solidarity for a more supportive nation. It will consist of a rally on the National Mall, along with two options for a march, one longer and one shorter. Many communities and local and national organizations are contributing to this effort through the Dignity Mental Health Coalition (see below).

Rally & March: *August 24, 11am-2pm, Hyatt Regency Hotel/National Mall (Capitol end).

*Reception and event, 5pm-7pm, Washington, DC (location TBA)

Program:   National leaders and champions will present from 11am- and 1pm.

More info and regular updates at :

WHY: The dignity and rights of individuals affected by mental health conditions are the counterpoint to a legacy of stigma, shame and discrimination that has caused social isolation, chronic under funding of services, unconscionable levels of disability and unemployment, and indefensible levels of premature death, including by suicide, of people affected by symptoms of mental illness. Public awareness of the issues must be led by people who have experienced these impacts personally, along with their supporters, allies and related professionals. Activating the previously silent millions of Americans affected is the key to creating healthier communities for all.

WHO: The Dignity Mental Health Coalition includes: Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery; Mental Health America; the Center for Dignity, Recovery and Empowerment; New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services; the Ida Mae Campbell Center; Active Minds; MHA Maryland; the National Council for Behavioral Health, the Carson J. Spencer Foundation; the American Association of Suicidology; the Entertainment Industries Council; Recovery Innovations; the National Empowerment Center; the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse; National Mental Health & Dignity Day; the National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors; Community Access (NYC); the National Association of Social Workers, and many others.; Twitter: @MHDignityMarch;

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