Sandra Spencer, Executive Director of the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health was invited to the White House in order to provide Vice President Biden's Task Force on Gun Control with suggestions on how to improve mental health care in America. All meeting attendees were very interested in Sandra's perspective as a parent of a child with mental health issues. After the meeting, Sandra Spencer was asked to answer a second series of questions, to ensure that the family perspective was captured and presented to the President and Vice President of the United States. The secondary interview was very compelling, and the panel felt that they could not capture Sandra's passion and urgency on a piece of paper, so she was asked to sit in the White House's media room, and videotape a message for the President to see. Sandra Spencer told The President of the United States that we MUST normalize mental health care in America. She told him that we MUST begin paying as much attention to our children's social and emotional needs, as we do to their physical health needs. Sandra let President Obama know that the increased institutionalization of people dealing with mental health challenges is NOT the answer. She shared with him that community-based services are proven to have more positive outcomes and that we should fund and support the programs and organizations who implement these best practices. President Obama was informed about the value of parent and peer support, and how there should be "nothing about us, without us". Parents and youth should be included on conversations that will produce outcomes surrounding the issues that affect our everyday lives!

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