August 30, 2016

Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine Talk with Mental Health Care Community and Campus Leaders About Comprehensive Mental Health Policy Agenda

Yesterday Hillary Clinton discussed her new comprehensive plan to support Americans living with mental health problems and illnesses in a phone call with the mental health policy community — including mental health patients, advocates, researchers and policy experts, and physicians, counselors, and service providers around the nation. Tim Kaine also discussed the plan on a phone call with college student leaders from around the country.

Recognizing that nearly a fifth of all adults in the United States — more than 40 million people — are coping with a mental health problem, Hillary’s plan will integrate our mental and physical health care systems. Her goal is that 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. The full fact sheet is available here.

“I have heard heartbreaking stories for years about these incredible challenges, but during this campaign, it has seemed like a floodgate has opened from parents and students, from veterans, nurses, doctors, police officers,” Hillary said. “But I’ve also heard stories of hope and courage – people getting the help they needed, being able to lead happy, healthy, and thriving lives. And cities and states are deploying innovative programs, and that's what we want to hear more of. We’ve got to break through and break down the stigma and shame. We’ve got to make clear that mental health is not a personal failing. Right now, it is our country which is failing people with mental health issues.”

“I am really happy that today when our campaign rolled out this proposal with respect to comprehensive mental health improvement, that we decided one group of people that we really want to talk to is college students,” Kaine said. “Most mental health challenges do first present themselves during adolescence or college. So, while even a mental health challenge of an adult later in life may become more manifest, there are early signs about it. One in four college students today do acknowledge that they are dealing with mental health challenges at some point along the way. And it is very important that we are aware of that and that we make clear that it’s normal, there is no stigma associated with it. And we want to make sure that there are appropriate resources, innovative resources, community-based resources so that people can access help, and that the response of society is treatment rather than judgment or pretending that it doesn’t exist.”

The plan also received praise from elected officials and mental health experts from around the country:

“Our mental health care system is broken in this country and Hillary Clinton is the only candidate with a plan to start fixing it,” U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), co-author of the bipartisan Mental Health Reform Act, said. “From focusing on early intervention and integration with medical care, to enforcing parity and boosting research, Hillary’s plan shows she’s serious about helping the millions of Americans who aren’t getting the treatment they need. The proposals Hillary Clinton laid out today already have broad, bipartisan support in Congress. The biggest obstacle facing mental health reform isn’t ideology or partisanship, it’s that Washington hasn’t made it a priority. I’m thrilled that Hillary is signaling that she takes the issue of mental health reform seriously, and I look forward to working with her to pass legislation to finally fix our broken mental health care system.”
“I applaud Secretary Clinton for releasing this comprehensive plan to improve the lives of people living with behavioral health issues,” U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) said. “I am particularly proud that Clinton will build on my Excellence in Mental Health Act and expand community mental health services in every state.  Mental illness touches the lives of 1 out of 4 people.  And this is just one more example of how Hillary Clinton understands the issues American families face and will make them a priority when she is President."

“Hillary Clinton’s plan to support Americans living with mental illnesses is not only comprehensive, it also takes wrap-around social services, research, and treatment options into account,” Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-Tex.) said. Using tools like training law enforcement officers, improving access to housing, creating job opportunities, expanding access to community-based treatment, and enforcement mental health parity laws will not only support Americans with mental health issues, but will also show future generations that mental health is integral to our society. As a former mental health practitioner, I agree that mental illness must not be treated differently than physical conditions and I fully support Hillary Clinton’s comprehensive mental health agenda. I look forward to work with her on this timely and very important issue. ”

“Hillary Clinton’s comprehensive plan on mental health is critical to improving our nation's mental health care system and will reduce stigma, elevate the issue to the same level as physical health, and save lives,” Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.) said. “I applaud her leadership of an issue ignored for far too long, especially her focus on early intervention and prevention. Begun as a pilot program in four schools which has since expanded to 25 schools, our on-site youth suicide prevention program administers culturally and linguistically appropriate mental health services to Los Angeles County students. For nearly fifteen years the program has provided critical care and healing for hundreds of students and their families, while reducing stigma and eliminating barriers to seeking treatment. As Chair of the Congressional Mental Health Caucus, I am incredibly grateful Hillary Clinton is prioritizing an issue near and dear to my heart. Together we can ensure all Americans, without fear or shame, have access to the mental health services they need.”

“Today, Hillary Clinton released a comprehensive mental health policy agenda, which reflects many of the principles in ThriveNYC, the City’s own plan to prevent and treat mental illness and substance misuse,” New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray said. “I am encouraged and deeply appreciative that a presidential candidate is taking the public health crisis of untreated mental illness and substance misuse so seriously. Clinton’s policy agenda lays out an evidence-based policy approach that, like ThriveNYC, expands the availability of mental health services in primary care settings; invests in early intervention and prevention; and gives our police officers the training and tools they need to intervene in crisis situations and help people get to treatment and not jail. The Clinton agenda supports many of the initiatives that are integral to ThriveNYC, which would benefit New Yorkers by allowing the City to provide more, much-needed mental health resources. It is unprecedented for mental health to be given this kind of attention and on this scale, but to truly improve the mental health of our citizens and reduce substance dependency in this country also requires funding. I urge Congress to take the recommendations in Clinton’s policy agenda and ThriveNYC seriously and fund comprehensive mental health treatment.”

“Today the Clinton campaign released the most comprehensive plan ever by a candidate to reform mental health and addiction care top to bottom,” former U.S. Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) said. “It also promises that '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.’ The plan embraces the smartest and most evidence-based approaches to enforcement of the parity laws; open science; early intervention tied to appropriate medical treatment, behavioral therapy and peer support. It is a plan that will work for the millions already getting mental health and addiction treatment, and the millions more who have avoided it because of discrimination or difficulty in finding caregivers or coverage. Sec. Clinton's plan, as it should, lays out what she is ready to do, immediately, right after she is elected. It is the right plan for right now, and there is no political issue on which Hillary has shown more leadership during her entire career. I urge everyone to support this bold initiative. We cannot stop until diseases of the brain are treated like disease of every other part of the body, and every American gets the care they need.”

“The detailed mental health plan outlined by Hillary Clinton is sweeping in nature and, if enacted, would greatly improve the nation's mental health care system,” American Psychiatric Association President Maria A. Oquendo, M.D. said. “Her plan promotes early intervention and prevention, stronger enforcement of parity laws so psychiatric conditions are treated the same as other illnesses, and investments in brain and behavioral research. All of these measures are huge steps in the right direction. We welcome the attention Clinton is giving to mental health, an issue that affects Americans from all walks of life. Our mental health system needs to be discussed this election season. Americans deserve to know how the candidates plan to address this important issue.”

“We commend Secretary Clinton for showing that mental health is important to her by calling for a White House Conference on Mental Health within her first year of office,” American Psychiatric Association CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. said. “This plan – through parity, prevention, early intervention, treatment and recovery – addresses the needs of every American who is affected directly or indirectly by mental illness.”

“Secretary Hillary Clinton today released her mental health policy platform,” Mental Health America President and CEO Paul Gionfriddo said. “MHA has eagerly awaited this day, because we know that it reflects months of thoughtful deliberation about her vision for the future of mental health services in America. It is a solid, comprehensive plan, consistent with MHA’s century-long advocacy for mental health, including prevention for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated services for those who need them, and recovery as the goal. The plan treats mental health as a part of overall health – just as it should be treated.”


For Immediate Release, August 30, 2016