By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – National leaders on mental health are meeting in Philadelphia beginning today to discuss ways to improve access to mental health treatment.

Titled, “Opening Closed Doors,” the conference will focus on privacy and providing involuntary treatment for those with mental illness.

“Twenty-six percent of Americans in any given year can be diagnosed with a mental health issue,” says Joseph Pyle, president of Scattergood Foundation, which is celebrating its 200th anniversary. “It is a common issue across all communities, yet it is one we rarely talk about.”

He says the event brings advocates, lawyers, academics, mental health professionals and families together in one place to discuss the many obstacles to treatment.

“A big issue will be– do clinicians understand the impact of HIPPA and how they can work with families and community groups to make sure people can gain access to treatment when they are in crisis,” he says, “a big problem is that the way people share information because of HIPPA can serve as a roadblock to treatment.”

For more info on opening closed doors, go to

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