Leading up to the 2014 midterm elections and in their immediate aftermath, we did not hear anything about initiating, increasing, pushing for or even looking into the possibility of addressing the poor state of mental health services in our country. Not during the campaigns, not during the celebratory speeches. Nothing.
Why is that? No recent articles, media interest, comments from high-profile celebrities? No interest in an area where people often suffer in silence, causing the loudest voices to be heard from a different population of constituents? No large campaign contributions to be thankful for, causing attention to be diverted elsewhere?
Regardless of the reason or reasons, none of which are truly good or acceptable, mental health once again goes addressed - as a cause or even a blip on politicians' radar screens. How very sad. How inexcusable. How tragic.
So really, what is it going to take to get mental illness and mental health care to seize the attention of politicians? What is it going to take to have those currently in power to make it a priority and to support the case for increased funding, services, treatment providers, education, training and campaigns to reduce stigma, provide for information so desperately needed and counter the huge amount of misinformation and misconceptions out there? Who will lead the charge to incentivize health care and mental health care professionals in order to provide services from one end of the economic spectrum to the other?
These are questions that have no answers. Hear my frustration? Imagine the frustration and sorrow and pain and disappointment of my clients and those throughout our country who have seen the campaigns and the aftermath, but who have heard nothing about mental health before, during or, now, after.