A Presidential Candidate Steps Out with a Mental Health Agenda

AUG. 30, 2016

By Katrina Gay


With the 2016 presidential election season in the final months, and with more than 70 issues on which the candidates have positions, we find ourselves asking, "Where do they stand on mental health?”

This week, we are asking no more. The Clinton campaign released their agenda on mental health care yesterday. And while we recognize the references to mental health on the Donald Trump campaign website, we now have an opportunity to review both these positions.

With more than 40 million adult Americans affected by mental health conditions, this is a core issue. Our country needs a president who will make sure that it is easy to get quality mental health care.

The Clinton agenda released yesterday includes several issues that have been priorities for NAMI and our advocacy agenda. Among those:

  • An emphasis on early diagnosis and treatment
  • An emphasis on diligent enforcement of our federal mental health parity law
  • An enhanced research focus
  • Criminal justice reform

The release sparked media interest as well, and NAMI provided an important perspective on the agenda. We embraced the opportunity to aid understanding of this important document and contributed to many articles, including: 

Clinton’s Mental Health Agenda is the most extensive agenda seen by a presidential candidate–it should set the bar for deeper discussions about mental health amongst candidates for any elected office. While this is a priority issue for the Oval Office, it is equally important for Congress do their part. And you can help.

We need the Senate to act when they return to Washington. This Friday, NAMI is urging all Americans to contact their U.S. Senators. Call 202-224-3121 and ask your Senators to act now on mental health and push to pass S.2680.

We have long insisted that mental health care is the top of our public policy agenda, and this week’s news is encouraging to families and individuals who have long advocated for mental health. Plans are good, but actions speak loudest.


SEP, 29, 2016 12:40:35 AM
F Tibbits
The question was asked how much the Clinton campaign would cost in taxes. Consider the enormous costs in taxes spent on jailing people with mental illnesses, on repeated emergency room visits and hospitalizations and deaths that could be avoided with early and appropriate care. Many of our fellow citizens, if provided with treatment, could work and join the tax rolls. Research funding could save dollars and lives by preventing mental illness and treating it effectively. That's where I would like my tax dollars to go.

SEP, 28, 2016 04:28:19 PM
I am supporting HC. However, it's discouraging to read no mention of my family's situation in Florida. The Governor continues rejection of federal money to expand Medicaid. As a result, my loved one, an extremely depressed young adult & therefore not working, no income, fell "in the gap" of no coverage for professional outpatient services. No Affordable Care Act and no Medicaid. It was so difficult to find help, I doubt that most severely depressed adults would find services, much less stick with them. To be seen, my young family member had to cope with nearly impossible scheduling, no follow-up on part of professional, and waiting Outside in a line in order to ask if they could be seen that day! How about basic "parity" for struggling, sick, poor people as compared to people recieving privately funded mental health services?

SEP, 19, 2016 11:08:52 PM
Rich Sigmund
I have not read Hillary's position -- only what others have posted. However, I have seen no mention of how much this is expected to cost nor have I seen any mention of the funding source. More taxes? In the budget already? What cuts elsewhere would fund this. Just asking.

SEP, 16, 2016 03:01:48 PM
Read both platforms and notice the stark differences. One is substantive and the other voices nothing. One focuses on early diagnosis and treatment, parity in federal mental health law, enhanced research and criminal justice reform. One has listened to families while the other has no vision nor priority. I feel encouraged by Hillary Clinton and trust she will respond proactively to NAMI and other mental health advocate organizations and will act upon the policies she sets forth to benefit those in need of strong leadership. I choose to lean on HOPE. Read the platforms.

SEP, 14, 2016 02:59:38 PM
Regardless of the party affiliation or even the agenda behind it....conversation and dialogue are the first steps.

The HOPE perspective continues....

SEP, 13, 2016 02:12:30 AM
Claudia Cruse
Jamie Leib; so sorry for your loss. There are no words to express my sympathy. I will pray for you and your family. My niece was 29. She was an armed security guard. She had a drinking problem. All I can mutter is...who gave a gun to a depressed alcoholic? It was such an unnecessary death. Forced treatment didn't work...she chose to drink. In a dazed state, lying on her bed, she pulled the trigger.

SEP, 13, 2016 02:06:49 AM
Claudia Cruse
Absolutely no support for either candidate! We're doomed. If we are fortunate maybe the new president will listen and take action that will further protect people with mental illness but right now it's just banter. The United States is in crisis and must reduce: police militant actions against USA citizens and weapons in our communities. I never did understand why it's ok for the police to kill people and animals. An officer killed an innocent man, spent 30 days in jail then was returned to his position with the police department...then killed a small dog for barking at him while the dog was in it's own fenced in back yard. Force police to do their job and not involve the community to seek out child molesters and to snitch on friends and relatives. Neighborhood communities can only do so much without crossing the line using vigilante actions. I have been personally attacked by people I don't even know. A woman who is a dispatcher for the police department is diligently spreading gossip about my home and myself without even knowing me. Personally I believe those who are the most violent, in planning harm to citizens are not mentally ill. It makes those who are mentally ill look so bad; as if dealing with the illness wasn't difficult enough. God help us!

SEP, 12, 2016 07:47:49 AM
This post assumes the mentally ill are very naive and simplistic. 1) candidates will say anything to get elected 2) how do we know someone wasn't paid to make this political endorsement? 3) one should look at several factors before making such a significant decision as to who to vote for President 4) this post will probably be censored, but maybe the moderator will consider what I've said

SEP, 12, 2016 12:01:30 AM
Just another reason why I'm voting for Clinton. This is a very important issue for me.

SEP, 11, 2016 10:38:37 PM
What makes you think that Clinton is going to do anything. If she thinks that this is important why didn't she donate monies from
Her Clinton Foundaution to Mental health/the Homeless instead of sending it overseas. What was the response from Trump because I saw none. Is NAMI supporting The Clinton Campagn? Besides Hillary has been in office how many years and were was she during this time and what has she ever done? She lies so much how can you believe anything she says! She is only out for herself! So therefore can we even trust NAMI in helping Mental Illness Consumers because for what I have seen the Democrats have had control for a number of years & it has gotten worse especially in Chicago for instances

SEP, 09, 2016 07:42:18 PM
Kim kiner
Majority of our leaders lie
Just make the call to support s2680 and pray for the best. And tell everyone you know to do the same!

SEP, 06, 2016 08:32:32 PM
Sandy Nevarez
I attended several Hillary Clinton speaking engagements where she spotlighted mental healthcare as a priority. She ackknowledged that millions of families are affected and that we must do a better job toward improving services, treatment and resources for families.

SEP, 06, 2016 06:09:28 PM
Thanks to the Clinton campaign there is still hope in the near future for continued help.

SEP, 06, 2016 06:08:06 PM
Thanks to the Clinton agenda there is still hope !

SEP, 05, 2016 08:10:11 PM
Clinton’s Mental Health Agenda is the most extensive agenda seen by a presidential candidate–it should set the bar for deeper discussions about mental health amongst candidates for any elected office. Here's the big question: How many elected candidates or those with any currently held position in office are individuals with Mental Illness? Things that make you go hmmmm????

SEP, 04, 2016 09:40:42 PM
I'm disappointed that NAMI appears to be endorsing a presidential candidate based on a single issue.

SEP, 01, 2016 10:38:08 PM
Pa pogo
Go Hillary. I'm with you and your mental health plan.

SEP, 01, 2016 01:07:24 AM
Jamie Leib
Please support this reform. We just lost our 24 year old son. He took his life July 7th. Connor was diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder Bipolar Type as well he had a Personality Disorder and an addiction to Marijuana mixed with Tobacco. A triple threat! We tried everything and because he ended up having legal troubles walls went up everywhere. Our family is so broken and distraught that Connor felt he had to end his life because there was no where to go. He could not get a job or a place to live. We as a society need to help and protest for change. Please help!

AUG, 31, 2016 01:46:23 PM
Linda Sanders
It is very important that we follow-up om email from NAMI. We need to contact our U.S. Senators Friday. Mental Health affects all of us sooner or later.

AUG, 31, 2016 12:31:59 PM
Very encouraging message.

AUG, 30, 2016 09:56:13 PM
How do we know she is not lying about her agenda on this important issue?

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