The following is an excerpt from JUNE GRUBER and DARBY SAXBE | February 27, 2018 | Slate.com |
As two clinical psychologists, we ought to be thrilled when public conversations draw attention to mental health. After all, mental health problems tend to be under-researched, undertreated, and overstigmatized. So when President Donald Trump promises, as he did last week, to “tackle the difficult issue of mental health,” it should be music to our ears.
We’ve had a hard time feeling positive about this new attention to our field, though, because far from an honest investment in health care, these suggestions are simply an obvious deflection from talking about guns. And what’s more, there’s a clear downside to putting mental health in the limelight on the heels of tragic school shootings: It suggests a strong link between violence and serious mental illness that simply doesn’t exist. It also detracts from the real and pressing issues facing mental health care in our society.
If politicians were serious about preventing and treating mental health, they would be tending to our broken mental health care system. What should politicians actually talk about when they talk about mental health? We compiled a list of priorities—and, spoiler alert, bringing back mental institutions did not make the cut.
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