Open Letter to Candidates for President of the United States of America

Dear Candidates,

New Morning Consult data released by the National Council for Behavioral Health shows a majority of voters – regardless of party affiliation – say they are more likely to support a candidate in 2020 who promises to address mental health and addiction. In addition, the survey found that 75 percent of Americans believe the federal government is not doing enough to address mental health.

As a nonpartisan coalition of more than 80 organizations, Mental Health for US proves that our country is united in demanding change. Our policy platform outlines the bare minimum of what needs to be done to transform our systems for the better, now we just need leaders with the courage to get it done. Those running for president cannot ignore the toll that mental illness and addiction are taking on our communities.

Before heading to the polls, our community needs to know how you will work to support people living with mental illness and addiction. We want to see comprehensive plans that ensure prevention is integrated into our health and education systems; that improve access to interventions so that all Americans are able to find quality, affordable treatment; and that invest in a variety of recovery services, treatments, and supports to guarantee everyone can get the mental health and addiction care that fits their needs?

We invite presidential candidates to share your plans and engage with constituents directly at the Unite for Mental Health: New Hampshire Town Hall on December 16.

This event is your chance to get in front of a national audience and talk about issues that affect nearly one in five Americans across the country.

Date: Monday, December 16, 2019
Time: 6:30 PM
Location: Dana Center at Saint Anselm College
100 Saint Anselm Dr., Manchester, NH 03102

Please email Alex at alex@mentalhealthforus.net with any questions and to RSVP.

Signed,

Patrick J. Kennedy, Former U.S. Representative
Gordon H. Smith, Former U.S. Senator
Mental Health for US Co-Chairs

Mental Health for US Coalition Leaders

• American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
• Association for Behavioral Health and Wellness
• The Jed Foundation
• The Kennedy Forum
• Mental Health America
• National Alliance on Mental Illness
• National Coalition for Mental Health Recovery
• National Council for Behavioral Health
• One Mind
• The Scattergood Foundation
• The Voices Project

New Hampshire Host Committee

• American Civil Liberties Union of New Hampshire
• American Foundation for Suicide Prevention New Hampshire
• American Mental Health Counselors’ Association
• Bi-State Primary Care
• Center for Life Management
• Community Partners of Strafford County
• Disability Rights Center
• Granite State Home Health & Hospice Association
• Greater Nashua Mental Health
• Lakes Region Mental Health Center
• Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester
• Mental Health for US
• Monadnock Family Services
• NAMI New Hampshire
• National Council for Behavioral Health
• New Hampshire Medical Society
• New Hampshire Mental Health Counselors Association
• NH Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative
• NH Community Behavioral Health Association
• NH Psychiatric Association
• Northern Human Services
• Riverbend Community Mental Health, Inc.
• Seacoast Mental Health Center, Inc.
• West Central Behavioral Health

By Ryan Hampton, a nationally recognized activist, author of American Fix, founder of The Voices Project, and person in recovery from opioid addiction.

Substance use disorder (SUD) is classified as a chronic mental condition, yet the stigma of addiction is so severe that people with SUD are often excluded from the national conversation on mental health. All mental health conditions, including addiction, must be a priority for policymakers. We need real action to end the national mental health crisis and bring solutions to people in need — in ways that are realistic, accessible, and reliable.

Read more on our Medium Channel.

By Charles Ingoglia, MSW and President and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health

Do you remember the moment you realized that timely access to mental health and addiction services is important? It’s different for all of us. For some, it’s the first time you try to help a family member, a friend, a colleague, or yourself navigate a mental health or addiction crisis. Unfortunately, many Americans discover that gaining access to care can be a challenge.

Read more on our Medium channel.

Our coalition, which is 40 members strong and growing, has united behind a common policy platform outlining some of the most urgent steps our country must take on these issues. Read more on our Medium channel.

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