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From Joel Corcoran, ICCD Executive Director
December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012

We are all very shocked and saddened by the shootings and deaths in Newtown, Connecticut last week. Although words don’t seem to be nearly enough, we offer condolences to all of the families who lost loved ones and to the entire Newtown community as it struggles to make it through this difficult time.

As the details of the tragedy and the young man behind this unthinkable act of violence against innocents become clear, it may or may not be true that he was living with mental illness or other disability. Eventually, we will know more about him and his circumstances. However, what he did will never, ever be excusable or even understandable.

In the coming weeks there will be much discussion and hopefully effective action to help significantly reduce the chances of this ever happening again.

There will be dialogue about the state of our mental health systems and what we can do to make them better.

One thing that we know already is that people living with a mental illness are often alone, overlooked and forgotten about in their own communities. We also know that if this is changed those same people can thrive and live successful and meaningful lives. We know from years of experience, study and research that access to a caring community of support can make all the difference for a person isolated by their disability. Belonging somewhere, with others who care, might be the single most available and effective means of preventing desperation.

It is past time that we recognize our obligation to come together to create and support places in every community where people living with mental illness can find the belonging they need.

Establishing an ICCD Clubhouse in every town and city in this country – much the same way that every town and city has a library, or a YMCA, or a community center – would provide a community base of support for hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of Americans living with mental illness. It would widen the tent of our society. Rather than isolation, hopelessness and despair, the expanding ranks of Clubhouse members would have access to community, hope, jobs, and a reason to wake up in the morning.
 
Please support the development of ICCD Clubhouses. Together, we can change our world.    

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