“Nearly a fifth of all adults in the United States — more than 40 million people — are coping with a mental health problem. Our plan will integrate our mental and physical health care Systems”, stated Hillary Clinton in a meeting held some weeks ago.

Doctor Jeffrey Lieberman, from Columbia University, explained to Medscape that this announcement is noteworthy because you don’t find presidential politics and mental health care mentioned in the same sentence very often. Moreover, candidates at the presidential level do not often prioritize mental health care as a major issue to put on their agendas, much less during the campaign”.

If Clinton wins the election, the adoption of this integrated mental health plan will suppose the extension of early mental health interventions, a national initiative for preventing suicide, increasing training for police who are called to the scene of a mental health crisis; providing mental health care for non-violent offenders to help them avoid going to jail for minor offenses, and investing more in brain and behavioral research. The program also includes increasing community-based housing and facilitating the employment of people with severe mental health disorders.

In announcing the plan, the Democratic candidate said she would hold a White House conference on mental health during her first year in office if she is elected. The aim of all these efforts is so: “The next generation must grow up knowing that mental health is a key component of overall health and there is no shame, stigma or barriers to seeking out care,” Clinton said in her proposal.

It is not the first time that Clinton has focused on mental health. In the nineties, during Bill Clinton’s years in office, Hillary led a movement aiming to include mental health in the healthcare system reform.

Some decades before, President John F. Kennedy passed the Community Mental Health Act, and during the seventies Jimmy Carter established the first Presidential Commission on Mental Health in 1978. In March 2016, the Senate passed the Mental Health Reform Act and in July the Congress passed the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis.

Sources:

USA Today : http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2016/08/29/clinton-releases-proposal-mental-health-reform/89539284/

Politico : http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/clinton-mental-health-agenda-227496

Medscape : http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/869156?nlid=109628_425&src=WNL_mdplsfeat_161004_mscpedit_psyc&uac=240167CN&spon=12&impID=1209151&faf=1