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Mental Health is Rising to a Major Issue in Iowa and Ohio

July 22, 2015

Just as we were beginning to think the only way to have mental health become a candidate issue was for a Hillcrest Family Services staff person to bring it up at the question and answer period for visiting candidates, two Presidential hopefuls brought it up on their own.  Until this point, we had only found 5 other mentions of mental health by presidential candidates.

This past Friday and Saturday, Hillary Clinton while campaigning in Iowa, mentioned the lack of beds and care for those with mental health issues. She brought the mental health crisis to the state level by criticizing Governor Branstad’s recent closure of two state mental health institutions, and citing numerous Iowans who brought this to her attention. Congratulations fellow Iowans! Thank you, Hillary Clinton.

On Tuesday, Ohio Governor John Kascich, in announcing his presidential candidacy said in his prepared remarks that the government can do more for those with substance abuse and mental health issues. This is the first case that we know where a candidate brought up mental health in their candidacy announcement. Thank you, John Kasich.

It may have taken nearly 2 months since we have been tracking, for presidential candidates to bring mental health and current mental health issues to the debate but at least it finally has a seat at the table. All mental health advocates hope that other candidates will do the same.

It is encouraging to see discussion on this important issue rather than a focus on how candidate did or did not stick their foot in their mouth.

Raising the mental health issue is the primary reason we started the Iowa Cares Campaign. Our second reason is to raise much needed funds to support mental health services. We need more people to make a pledge and become advocates for mental health. Here’s to a better future!

– Gary Gansemer, President/CEO, Hillcrest Family Services