02/03/2011 11:36 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Arizona Shooting Increases Mental Health Awareness Across Nation

Since last month's shooting in Tucson, Ariz., national nonprofit mental-health organizations have begun to undertake newly aggressive steps to lobby against cuts in state budgets and to educate the public about how to spot people in need of treatment.

"All of a sudden our big issue has become one of the country's big issues," says Michael Fitzgerald, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, an Arlington, Va., organization that has been working for the past three decades to improve mental-health care.

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