What Do The Presidential Candidates Think? Stances on Mental Health

Gearing up for the 2016 presidential election, it’s important to understand what different candidates are saying about significant topics. One important conversation is around mental health. Here’s what the 2016 candidates have said.

Democratic Candidates

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton

Image Credit: US Embassy New Zealand

On the topic of mental health, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has been quoted saying:

“There’s mental health and substance abuse, both of which are incredibly expensive, heart wrenching, and in many ways, unaddressed in communities across our country. We’re supposed to have parity, that means, if you have a mental health problem you’re supposed to get taken care of just like if you had some physical problem. There shouldn’t be any distinction. Because the more we learn about genetics the more we learn about the way the body works we know there are connections don’t we. And so we have argued very hard to remove the stigma on mental health.” – January 6, Henderson, Nevada

With regards to substance abuse, Clinton’s campaign site says that she will prioritize treatment and rehabilitation over incarceration and that she will “empower communities to implement preventive programming for adolescents about drug use and addiction.”

Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders

Image Credit: Phil Roeder

In his campaign, Bernie Sanders has advocated for the notion that “mental health should be treated as part of health care, and should be available to all people.”

Sanders’ site also comments on the importance of mental health support for veterans, stating that “he believes we must do more to meet the mental health needs of our veterans, especially those who have served in harm’s way.”

Finally, Sanders has been quoted on the urgency of increasing mental health support and care, saying:

“I think we need a revolution in mental health. And that revolution is about making sure that the many thousands of people who are walking the streets of America today who are suicidal or homicidal get the help they need, and they get it now, not two months from now.” – December 6, CBS’s Face The Nation

Republican Candidates

Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore

Candidate Ted Cruz has stated his concern that mental health has been overshadowed by gun control debates, particularly after shootings. For example, in Iowa last June he said the following:

“It’s sad to see the Democrats take a horrific crime and try to use it as an excuse not to go after people with serious mental illness or people who are repeat felons or criminals but rather try to use it as an excuse to take away the Second Amendment rights of law abiding citizens.”

Cruz’s campaign website doesn’t have any specific mentions of mental health.

Donald Trump

Donald Drumpf

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore

Donald Trump offered similar parallels between gun control and mental health, stating:

“We have a tremendous mental health problem. We’re closing places all over the world. All over the country they’re closing. Nobody’s doing anything about that. All they want to do is blame the guns. And it’s not the gun that pulls the trigger.” – January 3, CBS’s Face The Nation

On his campaign site, Trump offers solutions for drug abuse including building a wall between Mexico and the United States so that drugs cannot enter the country illegally. He also says “the people that are in trouble, the people that are addicted we’re going to work with them and try and make them better and we will make them better.”

Feature Image: Unsplash