NAMI Urges People to #Vote4MentalHealth on Election Day

10/29/2018

On Tuesday, Nov. 6th, Americans will go to the polls on Election Day, determining the future of mental health care across the nation. Today’s candidates are tomorrow’s elected officials. And elected officials (district attorneys, county commissioners, governors, members of Congress, etc.) play a role in deciding what mental health services and supports are available in the community.

NAMI’s #Vote4MentalHealth campaign makes mental health part of the debate. NAMI encourages individuals to vote for candidates that support people with mental health conditions and their families. Or in other words, mental health champions.

In 2018, mental health advocates have an opportunity to elect more mental health champions who are committed to funding the services and supports that people need to get better and stay better.

Learn the Issues

Before casting a ballot, learn more about a candidate’s proposals. There are many issues that mental health champions care about, but most fall into three main categories:

Promote Innovation: supporting research to better understand the brain and improve treatment options for a wide array of mental health conditions.

Improve Care: expanding health coverage with fair and equal coverage of mental health and substance use care. And supporting increased access to quality mental health care.

Support Recovery: promoting stable housing for people with mental illness and other community supports, such as supported employment, that help people stay on the path of recovery. Champions also know that people experiencing mental health crises need treatment, not jail, and support strategies to divert people from handcuffs to help.

You can reach out to all candidates and ask them about their positions on issues related to mental health. Share information about the importance of investing in mental health. When candidates hear from you about the importance of mental health care, they will listen.

Know Your Voting Rights

Mental illness can lead to disability for some people. All voters with a psychiatric or other disability have the right to: vote privately and independently, bring someone to help them vote or get assistance from workers at the polling place.

Some states and local areas offer other options to assist voters with disabilities, including: setting up mobile polling places at long-term care facilities, providing transportation to the polls and identifying the accessibility of polling places, which is usually done by local organizations, and absentee voting, so you can receive and return your absentee ballot through the mail.

And, sadly, there may be some people with mental health conditions who do not have the right to vote in their state. In most cases, if a person with mental illness does not have the right to vote, it is because of actions taken by a court of law.

Find out more about disability accommodations and voting rights in your state.

Make a Plan to Vote

Because most people don’t have Election Day off, it can be tough to find the time in a hectic weekday to vote. However, many elections, especially local elections, are won by small percentages. Every vote is important, including yours. 

Find your polling place location, hours and voter ID requirements. Decide when you will go vote and how you will get to the polling place.

Every mental health advocate should #Vote4MentalHealth on Nov. 6th.

Take the pledge to #Vote4MentalHealth and learn more at vote4mentalhealth.org.