Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has unveiled her policy agenda for addressing mental health issues across the country. The candidate has vowed to remove to stigma of seeking mental health treatment.
On Aug. 29, the Clinton campaign rolled out a comprehensive plan for tackling mental health on a section of her campaign site, known as The Briefing.
“Nearly a fifth of all adults in the United States, more than 40 million people, are coping with a mental health problem,” the campaign stated.
The campaign noted that there can be a trickling down of debilitating behaviors related to mental health.
“Close to 14 million people live with a serious mental illness ... many of these individuals have additional complicating life circumstances, such as drug or alcohol addiction, homelessness, or involvement with the criminal justice system.”
The campaign described Clinton’s goal as “within her time in office, Americans will no longer separate mental health from physical health when it comes to access to care or quality of treatment.”
On Aug, 17, Clinton had vowed to tackle mental health and drug addiction during a campaign in Cleveland, Ohio.
“We have got to take this on,” Clinton said, according to the Washington Examiner. The Democratic nominee added that the most emotional encounters she had had on the campaign trail were “when families grab my hand and talk to me about mental health and addiction.”
The Clinton campaign has proposed integrating the mental and physical health care systems, creating a cross-government initiative dedicated to suicide prevention, increasing funding for community health centers and training law enforcement on how to handle individuals with mental illness.
The Democratic nominee has also proposed enforcing mental health parity, increasing funding for research into the human brain and behavioral science and providing supportive housing and employment for people with serious mental illnesses.
The policy plan also promised to convene a White House Conference on Mental Health within Clinton’s first year in office.
“We’ve got to make clear that mental illness is not a personal failing,” Clinton said while unveiling her policy plan, according to USA Today. “Right now, it’s our country that is failing people with mental illness.”
CEO Paul Gionfriddo of Mental Health America praised Clinton’s policy plan as a step in the right direction.
“We applaud Secretary Clinton,” Gionfriddo stated. The CEO added that his group “looks forward to the day that mental health is truly seen as an essential part of overall health, and the brain as a most essential part of the body.”