I was honored this week to spend time with like-minded people for the White House’s forum on mental health, as a representative of NAPH and of all my fellow NAPH member hospitals and health systems.

Over several hours, members of the administration and leading experts addressed the need for greater and easier access to mental health care.

President Obama spoke eloquently about the need to remove the stigma that is often associated with seeking mental health treatment. Secretary Sebelius led an expert panel that addressed the challenges of delivering mental health services. Others spoke of the challenges faced by military personnel in returning to civilian service after combat. Some celebrities even gave the issues a voice – with speeches from actor Bradley Cooper and actress Glenn Close, who spoke about mental health issues in her own family.

Other groups are pledging support, as well. NAPH members have pledged to host community-based conversations around reducing the stigma of mental health treatment. The American Broadcasters Association pledged to start a media campaign to boost efforts to do the same. And the administration launched a new website and is seeking help from the mental health community in this quest.

There was great excitement and energy during the day among the 200+ mental health and other professionals who committed to engage with the administration on this campaign over the next year.

And I think it is important to remember that the Affordable Care Act coverage expansion will bring mental health benefits to millions of newly insured individuals. We at NAPH and Boston Medical Center to helping with this effort and continuing to serve the most vulnerable among us.