The following statement was provided to Alicia Sparks of Mental Health Notes by Senator Barack Obama’s campaign in his bid for the U.S. Presidential election in 2008:
Thank you for contacting me about mental health and the treatment of mental illness. As you may know, mental illness affects approximately one in five American families, and we must do more address this issue. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that untreated mental illnesses cost the U.S. more than $100 billion per year. As a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, I worked to improve mental health services for people with serious problems who are going untreated and undiagnosed.
It is important to end discrimination against those with mental illness, and that’s why I support the bipartisan Paul Wellstone (D-MN) Mental Health and Addiction Equity Act of 2007, an updated version of legislation that Senator Wellstone championed for over a decade in Congress. This bill works to end discrimination against people suffering from mental illness and addiction.
I also support mental health parity. When suicide is responsible for more deaths in America than AIDS and homicides combined, we must act. That’s why I have championed efforts to improve awareness of mental illnesses and provide timely and appropriate treatment, and why I cosponsored the Mental Health Parity Act of 2007. Parity means that we don’t allow group health plans to impose treatment or financial limitations on mental health benefits that are different from those applied to medical or surgical services. The bill closes the loopholes that allow discrimination in coverage that does not apply to other illnesses.
I’m proud of my record on this issue. I helped pass mental a health [sic] parity bill as an Illinois state senator that requires coverage for serious mental illnesses to be provided on the same terms and conditions as are applicable to other illnesses and diseases.
Thank you again for contacting me on this important issue.
Grohol, J. (2008). Obama on Mental Health Care. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 8, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/obama-on-mental-health-care/0001434
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Jan 2013
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.