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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.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (5+ / 0-)

    JS Cannon "We have weapons of mass destruction we have to address here at home. Poverty is a weapon of mass destruction. Homelessness is a weapon of mass destruction. Unemployment is a weapon of mass destruction." - Dennis Kucinich

    by JSCannon on Tue Aug 12, 2014 at 11:32:23 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for your timely post JSC. I'm sure that (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Mopshell, thanatokephaloides

    as the day goes on, many more people will feel compelled to make comments herein. I come from a family who, for many years, I swore were the inventors of depression. Then I got a bit older and realized that there are vast numbers of sufferers worldwide. I've been treated for it on and off but the insidious nature of it, its ability to lie in wait and ambush when you're least expecting it, is the part that is most worrisome. Yes, the death of Robin Williams is a great loss. But I do not think it is more important than the hordes of people lost because they could no longer cope and so they too took their own lives. It is of epidemic proportions in this country and it must be publicly addressed. ASAP!

  •  True, but not connected. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides

    Robin Williams undoubtedly had access to the very best treatment options available on the planet, with no financial impediments or any other disincentives (like being afraid you'll get fired if you disclose that you have a mental health or substance abuse issue, as most people would be).

    The reality, to me, is that we just do not have a very good handle on how to treat these interrelated conditions. It's not just a systems or financial issue; it's a medical one. It's like begging for better treatment of pneumonia or TB or wound infections, before antibiotics were invented.

    So yes, we need to do better. And no, it may not ever be enough to prevent the best and brightest from losing all hope and the will to live.

     

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