Mental Health: 2016 Presidential Candidates Weigh In

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The 2016 Presidential race is building steam as candidates are weighing in on a number of issues in an effort to differentiate their position from their competition’s. The more presidential candidates speak out on social, cultural, and economic issues, the more they develop a sense of identity with the public.

Mental health is a prevalent issue in the U.S., and many Americans are concerned with the specific opinions of the candidates from all political affiliations on this topic. While politicians commonly change positions and ideologies, the following points are the most recent established positions of the 2016 presidential candidates on mental health and available treatment, as revealed by “On the Issues.”[1]

2016 Candidates on Mental Health

Roseanne Barr (Peace and Freedom Party) on Mental Health

While it does not seem that Roseanne Barr is being taken seriously as a presidential candidate for 2016, her history of mental illness offers her unique insight into the significance of developing an effective mental health policy. Roseanne has suggested that there should be federal funding in place to ensure that health coverage is in place to deal with mental health issues.

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-FL) Shuns Planned Parenthood

While Jeb Bush has openly supported the funding of healthcare providers, including those providers who offer numerous services to individuals who are struggling with mental disorders, he has remained adamant that no funding be provided for Planned Parenthood. Bush has failed to provide a concise response to the question of where he stands on mental health specifically.

Dr. Ben Carson (Republican) Remains a Staunch Supporter of All Healthcare Initiatives

Dr. Ben Carson has remained true to his medical background, expressing the importance of ensuring that adequate healthcare is made available to everyone. While Carson has not effectively addressed mental health treatments in great depth, he has alluded to the importance of providing the necessary treatment to the millions of Americans who are suffering with some form of mental illness, including dual-diagnosis cases.

Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) Makes Mental Health and Substance Abuse Key

Hillary Clinton has been very clear that she will make both mental health and substance abuse key issues in her presidential candidacy for 2016. [2] Both substance abuse and mental health are prevalent in American society, and with only 11 percent of the 23.5 million individuals struggling in these areas receiving the treatment they need, health care, substance abuse, and the effective treatment of both are on Hillary Clinton’s radar.

Donald Trump (Republican) Not as Controversial on this Issue

So far in the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump has been about as controversial as a candidate can be while maintaining reasonable prevalence in the polls. When it comes to mental health, Trump steers clear of his usual rhetoric and goes directly to the point, saying that all of the mass shootings taking place in America are a reflection of a growing issue with mental health, suggesting that engaging the mental health problem in the country will help address the issue with mass shootings.

As the presidential race heats up, it is becoming clear that how these candidates address some of the key issues, such as mental health treatment, will determine the outcome of the election.

Photo Credit: By “Adam Lenhardt” (English Wikipedia) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

[1] Staff. (2015). On the Issues – 2016 Presidential Candidates on Mental Health. On the Issues.

[2] Zezima, K. (2015, May 31). Clinton’s Campaign Will Make Substance Abuse, Mental Health Key Issues. Washington Post.

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