Presidential Candidates Speak out on Mental Health

Campaign for Cures

The Campaign for Cures Election 2016 blog features news, analysis, commentary and data about the presidential candidates and congressional races in key states on issues relevant to medical progress. Janice Lloyd, former USA Today senior editor and health reporter, manages The Campaign for Cures blog. You can reach Janice at   Follow Campaign for Cures, a national voter education initiative, on Twitter and Facebook and visit

Presidential Candidates Speak out on Mental Health

Janice Lloyd

Hillary Clinton unveiled a wide-ranging mental health agenda Monday that includes more funding for research.

The goal, said the Democratic presidential candidate in a statement, is to put “the treatment of mental health on par with that of physical health.”

“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,” Clinton’s plan reads.

She plans to hold a White House conference on the issue her first year in office. While he hasn’t outlined in detail how he’d go about it, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has also offered support for mental health care reform.

In addition to the 40 million adults -- nearly a fifth of all adults -- coping with mental health problems, the Clinton plan will also attempt to address the following problems:

Schizophrenia and bipoloar disorders: Close to 14 million people live with these serious mental illnesses.

Drug and alcohol addiction: More than two-thirds of families have been affected by addiction. Opioid abuse killed more than 28,000 people in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Post-traumatic stress syndrome: 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 disorder (PTSD) or depression.

Child and teen problems: An estimated 17 million children in the United States experience mental health problems, as do one in four college students.

The plan would also seek to provide training to law enforcement officers on how to deal with people with mental health issues and prioritize treatment over jail.

Clinton would also "significantly increase" brain and behavioral science research as President, including new funding for the National Institutes of Health and integrate ongoing cross-agency research portfolios on issues like PTSD between departments.

“Combining neurobiological research with behavioral, clinical, and services research will help us develop new therapies to help patients today while laying the foundation for future breakthroughs,’’ the statement reads.

On his website, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump says: “We need to reform our mental health programs and institutions in this country. Families, without the ability to get the information needed to help those who are ailing, are too often not given the tools to help their loved ones. There are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan support.”

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Source: A Research!America and poll of U.S. adults conducted in partnership with Zogby Analytics in September 2015.