One major party cares about mental health. While we mourn the loss of Robin Williams, we should put mental health and addiction issues at the forefront.
Yesterday, America lost a comedic genius and beloved citizen - Robin Williams - who apparently succumbed to depression and addiction issues at the age of 63. The loss is tremendously sad and not a political football I want to punt toward conservative science deniers or Democrats afraid of approaching the issue.
It's time for (preferably) bipartisan legislation - not political stunts - to deal with mental health issues in America. The facts are beyond daunting: America falls behind every developed nation with high rates of depression, suicide, addiction, and our answer has always been for the person to recognize "their weakness" and seek "help."
However, mental health issues and addiction are all medical issues. I suffer from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic disorder, and have probably battled bouts of depression off-and-on as I've gone through treatment for my disorders. Even I have been hesitant to bring up depression with my doctor due to the overwhelming stigma still attached to people who suffer from any mental health issue or addiction.
Of course, the Affordable Care Act is strongly supportive of people being treated for these issues medically. Offering insurance packages that "cover mental health and substance abuse issues." There's a lot of legal and institutional support, despite it not being enough, to help people. At the end of the day, America is falling short.
The late Senator Paul Wellstone became a fire-breathing advocate for mental health issues. We need a group of today's national leaders to address the public, private-sector and public officials in tandem, on the importance of seeking help for medical issues regardless of the nature of the conditions.
We lose many important national figures to addiction and mental health issues and the time has come to say enough.
RIP Robin Williams - thank you for brightening our lives.