To President Trump, From a Woman With a Mental Illness
As of today you have been sworn in as the President of the United States. No, I did not vote for you. I’ve been told that I’m a bleeding heart liberal, but even if I had more conservative view points, you probably wouldn’t have received my vote. No, I am not thrilled about you leading this country for the next four years, but here we are. I usually keep silent about politicians I support, and I more openly tend to write about the political view points I stand for. However, you are now our new leader, and I need your attention, as a civilian of the United States, and as a voice for the mental health community.
Many of the policies that might come out under your administration will directly affect my life; your stance on LGBTQ Americans, education (I have a son who is depending on a strong education system), relations with POC, women’s rights, Obamacare (I receive state aid and assistance). But one political standpoint that is often overlooked in our country is mental health care. Please, please, do not forget about the people of America who are struggling with mental illness. We are people too; we just have a chronic illness we didn’t choose. We are stuck living this way. We can not change who we are, we can not change the way we think; not without affordable resources.
If my health care changes to not cover psychiatric treatment, I won’t be able to afford my therapist, my prescriptions or intensive care. I won’t be able to function or work “American jobs.” I won’t be able to make money to support my family if I fall off the mental health bandwagon. I will run a higher risk of harming myself if I’m living unassisted from professional help.
Mr. Trump, the very first expense to be cut on health care is often the mental health budget. Hospital programs shut down, I can’t stay inpatient as long as I may need to, I get accepted into fewer mental health programs. Every little bit of money that goes into the mental health budget counts. And every tiny bit of money that is taken from that budget drastically changes lives. You’re repeal of the Obamacare program has the risk of putting the country in a mental health crisis.
But to be honest with you, I’m worried this won’t be a concern for you. Because you actively take to Twitter and to other media outlets, insulting other people and calling them “crazy.” How many times has your anger caused you to insult others using derogatory words to question the sanity of your fellow peers? I mean, you’ve attacked Megyn Kelly with the word “crazy,” you’ve called Bernie Sanders not only “crazy,” but a “loon.” You’ve even addressed soldiers with PTSD by saying, “When you talk about the mental health problems, when people come back from war and combat, they see things that maybe a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over and you’re strong and can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it(…)” and by doing this you’ve made it out like PTSD is something that affects only the weak. As a survivor of trauma and someone who lives with PTSD, I can reassure you we are not weak for having this diagnosis; in fact most of us are a lot stronger than you would ever know.
You’ve used words like “basket case,” “nut job,” “wacko” and “unstable” just to describe your colleagues. I know you’ve stated in the past that you want to help those with mental health issues, opioid addictions and even veterans struggling with PTSD. But how can we even believe you when you can’t stop yourself from tweeting these derogatory and hateful words?
Trump, my life, and millions more in this country who have a mental illness are depending on you and the policies you put into place. We are actively trying to break stigma, and we are actively trying to lower the suicide statistics. Please, help us keep on the right path, please have enough concern for those who live with a mental illness to put something in place to help them.
I want you to make the mental health system “great” — but I will settle for a functioning system, and acceptance for all of us Mental Warriors.
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Image via Donald Trump’s Facebook page.