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Mr. Trump, what will you do to address the shortage of professionals in our mental health workforce?
Secretary Clinton, how will you help people with mental illnesses get into treatment, not jail?
These are a couple of the questions that America should be asking of our future president. And these are the questions that NAMI members from across the country are asking the candidates. But in this election cycle, mental health keeps getting buried in the fray of personal attacks and heated discourse.
Despite NAMI’s open letter to moderators Anderson Cooper of CNN and Martha Raddatz of ABC, there was no mention of mental health in the second presidential debate. Twenty-nine organizations joined NAMI in urging the moderators to ask a mental health question.
On top of that, the question “How would you fix our broken mental health care system?” received 16,784 votes on PresidentialOpenQuestions.com before the debate—ranking 37th place out of 15,865 questions. Frustratingly enough, even when mental health does come up, it hardly enters the conversation as its own issue—one that isn’t prompted by a national crisis or a gun control debate.
At NAMI, we endure this frustration with hope—the same hope that drives individuals with mental health conditions to seek services and supports and the same hope that fuels our members’ efforts to raise awareness of mental illness and recovery.
It’s our turn to ask the questions now. Join NAMI members in writing letters to the candidates and posting on their Facebook pages.
With just three weeks until Election Day and one presidential debate left on Wednesday, Oct. 19, we’re in the final stretch. On Nov. 9, we will know who will be our 45th president. And we already know that one in five of the Americans that he or she will represent for the next four years experiences a mental illness. It’s our job to remind our future president of that reality before he or she moves into the White House.