MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health issues affect everyone. 1 in 5 American adults experience the effects of a mental illness every year. 26% of our homeless population and 20% of our prison population have been diagnosed with a mental illness. 70% of our incarcerated youth have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Over 37% of students with a mental health need dropout of school. Anyone who has struggled with or has a family member with a mental illness knows how crucial a society that promotes mental health is. Sadly, in today's United States we do not have adequate mental health services to prevent and treat issues such as, substance abuse, self harm and violence towards others.

I support mental health education where schools receiving federal funds will teach coping skills, stress management, mindfulness, non-reactivity, non-violent communication and safe and effective conflict resolution strategies.

All mental health services should be provided through a single payer Medicare for all health care system, including services such as occupational therapy and community integration programs.

People with mental illnesses and addictions make up a large portion of the nation's homeless population. This is a situation right out of a Charles Dickens novel. We are better than that. We must provide housing and jobs to individuals with mental health needs. 

We must end the war on drugs and treat addiction as the mental health crises it is.

While working in mental health I developed a special compassion for families of people with autism and developmental disabilities. I will fight to provide services such as respite care, family training and specialized education for families of autistic individuals and people with developmental disabilities.

We must turn our juvenile corrections system to a treatment focused system. I support therapeutic foster care as an alternative to incarceration. I support early interventions for minors in the corrections system, such as functional family therapy, specialized education, substance abuse treatment and therapies for trauma and behavioral issues such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Eye Movement Desensitization Reintegration therapy.

When mental health is ignored by society, preventable tragedies become daily events.