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Candidates must talk about mental health. A new coalition will make them.

The recent tragic suicides of celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade have once again put a spotlight on an issue that too many of us are afraid to confront – behavioral health. And it’s important to focus on our own friends, family, co-workers and neighbors who struggle day in and day out with mental illness.

That is why we have formed a first-of-its-kind coalition, called Behavioral Health Action, to be launched at the state Capitol on Tuesday. More than 50 statewide organizations representing diverse viewpoints have joined together for a groundbreaking effort. We want to elevate the issue of behavioral health. We want to educate about what we need to do to address behavioral health challenges. And we want to innovate by thinking about mental health differently to come up with new kinds of solutions.

Sacramento County has more than 27,000 cases of mental illness cases involving children. Nearly one in six California adults has a mental health need, and one in 20 suffer from a serious mental illness, according to the California Health Care Foundation. And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the suicide rate in our country jumped 30 percent between 1999 and 2016. Nearly 58 million Americans, or one in four adults, experience a mental health disorder in a given year.

Read more on The Sacramento Bee.

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