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7 Ways the Candidates Can Prove They Care About People With Mental Illness

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It seems like presidential candidates in the United States only talk about mental health in America when they’re talking about gun control.

Well, when is somebody going to ask, “What are you going to do about the problem facing America in regards to the mental health system?” Our mental health facilities are overcrowded. People are too embarrassed to get help because politicians and the media contribute to the stigma. People are not educated about what signs to look for and where to go to get help.

In America, one in four adults experience mental illness in a given year — that means everyone most likely at least knows someone who has a mental illness. So, what are you going to do Donald Trump? Hillary Clinton? Sanders? Cruz? Kasich? I think the people who have mental illnesses, their families and anyone who has been affected by a mental illness due to tragedy have the right to know. I can give you some answers since you can’t seem to come up with any of your own. At least if you have, you have not shared them.

Here are some ways you can show you care about people affected by mental illness:

1. Ask people with mental illness and their families what they need and ask them to suggest what could help.

2. Ask the employees at mental health facilities what problems they see and how they would fix it.

3. Consider bills that are in Congress right now.

4. Go visit psychiatric hospitals and see what they’re like.

5. Visit the prisons and see how many people who have a mental illness are there instead of receiving help at a psychiatric facility.

6. Learn about the revolving door for prisons and hospitals — then offer some solutions.

7. Ask other countries what they’re doing. Learn from countries who are doing it right.

You can’t just throw money at the problem. You can’t keep dodging questions, you definitely should not add to the stigma like I have heard some of you do. Ignoring these issues disrespects the Americans who have a mental illness. The topic of mental health deserves so much more than any candidate or media outlet gives it. I suggest you:


-Ask for solutions from people who are in the trenches.

-Do something! Talk about solutions.

Promise that you’ll do something to help the mental health system within your first 100 days in office.

Then, do it.

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Originally published: April 11, 2016
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