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News and culture through the lens of Southern California. Hosted by A Martínez

Bipartisan Senate group to propose mental health legislation

by Take Two®

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Panelists Alex Cohen and David O. Russell discuss removing the stigma of mental illness at Museum Of Tolerance on February 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. John Sciulli/Getty Images for The Weinstein C

Today, a bipartisan group of senators will introduce legislation which they say would strengthen the nation's mental health services and hopefully prevent violent acts by the mentally ill.

Those involved in the effort include Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Jack Reed, Barbara Boxer and Patrick Leahy and Republican Sens. Roy Blunt, Marco Rubio, and Susan Collins.

Joining them to introduce the bill will be David O. Russell, director of the Oscar-nominated film "Silver Linings Playbook," which is the story of a man grappling with bipolar disorder. 

Last night at a screening of the film, Russell told Alex Cohen that this country needs to treat mental illness with the same attention and funding that we do for physical illnesses:

"It's just the tip of the iceberg. It's not enough, but it's something to address it. To say as a nation, listen have we had enough tragedies? With heart disease and diabetes you don't wait until someone is keeling over in the street. You start... Well what's your diet, what's your exercise, like way back. Way before the person is walking into traffic with a heart attack. So that's what this is an attempt to start to do that to provide some of the resources and direction, you know?"

For more on the legislation being introduced today, we're joined by Rebecca Farley, director of policy and advocate at the National Council for Behavioral Health.

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