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Rep. Napolitano Welcomes LA Superstars Ozomatli to Mental Health in School Act Task Force

October 24, 2011
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) Today, Rep. Grace F. Napolitano welcomed the popular and widely-acclaimed Los Angeles band Ozomatli as the newest members of the Mental Health in Schools Act Task Force, a group of prominent figures who work to reduce the stigma against mental health and increase the availability of mental health services for young people.

“I am proud to enlist the help of world-renowned Los Angeles band Ozomatli,” Napolitano said. “Their passion and authenticity makes them the perfect messengers for breaking down the stigma surrounding mental health and reaching the many youngsters who need help. I commend the members of Ozomatli for their heart and generosity, and I look forward to working with them to support our youth.”

"Everybody needs help, everybody. As we pass through the ever changing stages of life we often find ourselves in new and challenging situations that require help from others,” said Raul Pacheco, lead singer and guitar-player. “Ozomatli is proud to say that we owe our 16 year existence as a band to the guidance of mental health professionals. Learning how to handle the pressure of success, the pressure to continually create, life on the road and our role as partners and family men has been helped by seeking out mental health assistance."

One out of five U.S. children and adolescents currently suffer from some form of mental health disorder, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for youth people ages 15-24.

Many youth are often too ashamed or embarrassed to ask for help because of the stigma against mental health, and encouragement from celebrities and respected figures can help them take the first step towards receiving care.

Napolitano is a long-time supporter of mental health legislation and the author of H.R. 751, the Mental Health in Schools Act, which would create grant funding for schools across the country to partner with local nonprofits to provide on-site, culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services for students.

Previous Mental Health in Schools Act Task Force members include Los Angeles Laker Ron Artest, winner of the 2011 J. Walter Kennedy NBA Citizenship Award, and Mia St. John, three-time female world boxing champion and mental health advocate.


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