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Tuesday, November 4th is Election Day. This election will carry crucial implications for health care coverage, access to mental health treatment, and continued assistance for mentally ill veterans. Do you know where your candidates stand on mental health care? Thereā€™s still time to learn about the issues before you head to the polls.

Regardless of your political views, mental illness is something that affects us all. One in four adults will experience a mental health problem each year but sadly only one-third will seek treatment. Early identification through mental health screenings combined with follow-up treatment can make a difference.

Lawmakers are in a unique position to affect the future of mental health care. Changes can be made to increase awareness, decrease stigma, and encourage treatment. Candidates at the local, state, and national level need to know their constituents care about access to mental health treatment and improving existing services.

A few issues to consider as you research candidates in your area:

  • Mental health treatment works, but most are not receiving the help they need. Improving access and funding for mental health care should be an important priority.
  • In the aftermath of a natural disaster or traumatic event, mental health services are imperative for a community to properly heal. Improved community-based mental health support can make a difference.
  • Continued mental health care for veterans and their families is an ongoing need. Education, awareness, and improved access to care should be a top priority.
  • Three-quarters of serious mental illness occurs by age 24. School-based suicide prevention and education programs are an important part of early intervention and treatment programs for teens and young adults.
  • All health plans should be held accountable for mental health parity. Mental health should be treated with the same gravity as physical health.

The importance of mental health awareness extends past Election Day. It is never too late to help educate your lawmakers on the effects of mental illness in the community and the benefits of improved mental health care.

Please vote for candidates who support your views on mental health and make your voice heard at the polls!

Photo Credit: Katie Hickey