By Paolo del Vecchio, MSW; SAMHSA Executive Officer

As a person with lived experience of mental illness, addictions, and trauma, I consider July 26 – the 31st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – to be our nation’s second Independence Day. For the millions of us with disabilities, it is a day to celebrate our freedom.  Freedom from discrimination and the barriers that block our inclusion in community life.  Freedom from unjustified segregation and institutionalization.  Freedom to earn and to learn.  Freedom to pursue recovery and receive services and supports – including mental health and addiction services – that help us participate fully in American life.
As an employee with SAMHSA for over 26 years, I am proud of our leadership in protecting the rights of people with mental illness and/or addictions including:

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Author: SAMHSA