HILLARY CLINTON – ON THE ISSUES (PART II – Mental Health Care)

“I believe that together we can make sure that the next generation gets quality mental health care—without shame, without stigma, without barriers. And that we can do so much more to help people right here and now.” – Hillary Clinton, August 29, 2016

Hillary-8You may notice that I am not taking Hillary Clinton’s 38-point platform {refer to Part I for the list) in any particular order, and it is likely that there will be a few that I won’t address at all, but in case you are disturbed by my lack of sequential order, let me assure you there is no method to my madness.  It is just the way my mind works.  Today, however, there actually is a reason for the topic:  timeliness.  On Monday, 29 August, Hillary Clinton made what has been referred to as “one of the most consequential announcements of her campaign”, but it went largely unnoticed and unreported in the media.  It seems that people care more about the circus than the serious.  The topic of her announcement was something that nobody really wants to talk about, but that is, nonetheless, a serious issue that requires serious discussion:  mental health, #22 on the list.

A few facts, to start the discussion:

  • Nearly a fifth of all adults in the United States, more than 40 million people, are coping with a mental health problem.
  • Close to 14 million people live with a serious mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
  • Moreover, many of these individuals have additional complicating life circumstances, such as drug or alcohol addiction, homelessness, or involvement with the criminal justice system.
  • Veterans are in acute need of mental health care, with close to 20% of those returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars experiencing post-traumatic stress or depression.
  • The problem is not limited to adults: an estimated 17 million children in the United States experience mental health problems, as do one in four college students.

I learned some things from Ms. Clinton already, as I had no idea the problem was this widespread, but in doing some quick research, I found these facts to be accurate. Ms. Clinton’s proposed plan to help those who are suffering from a mental illness includes these steps:

Promote early diagnosis and intervention, including launching a national initiative for suicide prevention.

Integrate our nation’s mental and physical health care systems so that health care delivery focuses on the “whole person,” and significantly enhance community-based treatment

Improve criminal justice outcomes by training law enforcement officers in crisis intervention, and prioritizing treatment over jail for non-violent, low-level offenders.

Enforce mental health parity to the full extent of the law.

Improve access to housing and job opportunities.

Invest in brain and behavioral research and developing safe and effective treatments.

You can read more detail about each of these steps here.

The most important part of her plan is putting mental health care on an equal footing with physical health care.  That means removing old payment systems that shortchanged mental-health care and using the federal government’s role as a major player in the health industry to encourage integrating mental-health care into medical practices.  Ms. Clinton also pledged to hold a White House conference on the issue within her first year in office. Though I am no expert in the field, on the surface I believe Ms. Clinton’s proposals seem sensible.  An article in the New York Times earlier this year says that the suicide rate in the U.S. has jumped to its highest level in 30 years. This, in itself, indicates that something needs to change, that it is an important social issue for our nation. According to one analyst at The Washington Post, her plan would stand a good chance of actually becoming law, as this is one area that Congress has had some bi-partisan agreement and has been working, albeit slowly, toward passing legislation similar in nature to what Ms. Clinton is calling for.  The “great debate”, will inevitably be over funding, as always.

Compare, if you will, Ms. Clinton’s seemingly sensible plan to that of her opponent.  I went in search of his plan, but found only a couple of snippets from his speeches, debates and rallies referencing mental health.  I will present those without comment and let you, the reader, be the judge:

  • “I feel that the gun-free zones and, you know, when you say that, that’s target practice for the sickos and for the mentally ill. They look around for gun-free zones.”
  • “No matter what you do, guns, no guns, it doesn’t matter. You have people that are mentally ill and they’re going to come through the cracks and they’re going to do things that people will not even believe are possible.”
  • Trump marginalizes individuals with a mental health disorder. He shamed and fired a candidate on his reality show “The Apprentice” back in 2004 for exhibiting mental health issues.
  • He also seemingly mocked former candidate Ted Cruz’s wife, Heidi Cruz, for an episode of depression.

Unable to find anything more than the above regarding Trump’s platform on mental health, I did the unthinkable and went to his campaign website in search of.  Remember Hillary’s 38-point platform?  Trump has a 7-point platform.  No, mental health is not one of the seven.  So, I cannot make a comparison between his platform and Hillary’s.  Suffice it to say that Ms. Clinton has a comprehensive platform and a plan to improve mental health care, while her opponent has nothing beyond mockery and scorn. And yet … and yet, is he not the one who screams that he will “take care of veterans”?

Why, you may ask, did Ms. Clinton’s important policy-related announcement go almost unnoticed?  Well, let me show you a few of the headlines from that day, 29 August:

  • Trump’s slump in Nascar country deepens Republican fears of defeatThe Guardian
  • What is Donald Trump’s immigration plan — and when will we see it?CNN
  • Readers sound off on Donald Trump, bicycles in New York and Leslie JonesNew York Daily News
  • Trump to raise money in ‘wine country’ on Aug. 29Napa Valley Register
  • Donald Trump’s new ad echoes John Edwards’ campaignsLos Angeles Times
  • Trump can’t fake love of ‘the blacks’The Washington Post

Get the picture?  This seriously needs to stop!  The media are helping Trump by reporting on it every time the man is flatulent, while Ms. Clinton’s serious policy discussions are relegated to page 5, if that!  Several of my fellow-bloggers and I keep trying to get the word out, but relative to the major media outlets, our voices are so small that I am not sure how much good we do.  I publish my posts in a couple of online publications, PoliticusUSA and Daily KOS, but those are liberal outlets, so I’m basically just preaching to the choir.  Well, at any rate, I will be back soon to address another of Ms. Clinton’s platform points, so stay tuned folks!

23 thoughts on “HILLARY CLINTON – ON THE ISSUES (PART II – Mental Health Care)

    • Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. I think people fear that which they do not understand, and the more people learn about a topic, whether it is mental illness, LGBT, Islam, the less we fear and discriminate. Just my theory. 🙂 Thanks again for reading!

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  2. Dear Jill, I love this post. I don’t know a family who doesn’t have someone who needs some level of mental health assistance.This issue along climate change crosses party lines and deserve more emphasis. The other issue that cuts across party lines is that of students suffering from college student loan debts.

    I am appreciative of Keith recommending your blog.

    Thanks, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your kind words! I feel the same … many thanks to Keith for pointing me toward your blog! And yes, I plan to tackle the student debt issue soon. And also planning to do one on the environment, but there is so much involved that it will probably need to be 2 parts. Thanks again, Gronda!

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  4. Jill, your coverage above is about the only coverage I have seen other than the blurb online. This was a substantial piece worth heeding, whether you like the messenger. And, you are right, we would rather cover the circus.

    In my business, I used to travel with a behavioral psychologist who helped companies set up wellness plans with a focus on mental health for their employees. She would quote two statistics, one which you note, that 1 in 5 people will have a mental health issue in their lifetime. She said it could be large or small. The other statistic is she said you can look at any large employer’s health claim data and find 1 out of 10 people on some form of depression medication.

    Clinton’s plan needs notoriety. And, it is not getting it as we would rather read about Trump’s latest brain fart. Thanks for sharing this, Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes, I got wind of the story through an off-the-beaten-path media outlet, then went in search of confirmation in the mainstream. I found it, but it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. No wonder Trump supporters don’t like Hillary … they have no clue who she is or what she stands for, only what Trump tells them. I thought the major media outlets were supposed to be unbiased … guess my naivete is showing again. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Indeed. We are preaching to the choir. Those who need to read your excellent blogs have no idea they are out there. And the media are having a field day with Trump because people are fascinated by him. Clinton is boring and she doesn’t sell air time and newspapers. The system is seriously flawed.

    Liked by 2 people

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