This was originally published on Liberal America on November 16, 2016.
Just last week, we elected Donald Trump to be our next president. As if this wasn’t horrifying enough, he has selected Steve Bannon, the RWNJ executive chairman of the alt-right website Breitbart News Network, to be his Chief Strategist. Breitbart has become a voice for right-wing extremists, otherwise known as the “alt-right.”
He has added onto his level of nastiness by displaying his ignorance about mental health and mental illness.
In December 2015, Bannon talked to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) about Ryan’s proposed mental health reforms. Ryan proposed an “overhaul” of the mental health system after the Colorado shooting.
Some emails have surfaced about this issue. Bannon was talking to his Washington editor, Matt Boyle, about a story promoting Ryan’s reforms.
In one of these emails, Bannon said:
“I’ve got a cure for mental health issue. Spank your children more.”
This is one of the major stereotypes against people with mental health issues or mental illnesses. Mental illness is not a character flaw or a weakness. It is a serious health issue that we fight every day. One in four people struggle with mental health issues in their lives.
The stigma often keeps people from getting the help they desperately need. Former U.S. First Lady Rosalynn Carter aptly said this about stigma:
“One does not work long on mental health issues before recognizing the additional hardships caused by stigma.”
President-elect Donald Trump briefly mentioned mental health in his campaign. His website says:
“Finally, we need to reform our mental health programs and institutions in this country. Families, without the ability to get the information needed to help those who are ailing, are too often not given the tools to help their loved ones. There are promising reforms being developed in Congress that should receive bi-partisan support.”
Hopefully, Trump will do something to help people who are having trouble getting access to mental health services. He definitely should not get his advice from Steve Bannon.
These are painful diseases, and those of us who suffer deserve proper treatment.
I live everyday with a mental illness. The depression can be debilitating. My reduced memory and concentration can get in the way of everyday tasks. However, I'm mostly stable. If I were to go off of my medicine, I would be symptomatic again. I would barely remember to brush my teeth and bathe.
I owe my quality of life to my medicine. Obviously, most of the country doesn't give a shit. Republicans, I hope you are happy. If you have pre-existing conditions, you may be fucked out of your insurance. Trump has been talking about repealing the ACA for the last year-and-a-half. Now, you will be able to thank the radioactive buffalo chicken wing you elected when he takes it all away.
I would maybe feel slightly better if he had some kind of plan to replace it. No, "something terrific," isn't a plan. I hope y'all are proud of yourselves. You elected a walking orange STD because you wanted to bitch about emails.
This makes me very happy. President Obama is fighting for equal coverage for mental health on insurance policies. He is trying to end the insurance companies' lack of mental health coverage.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. They are focusing on addiction treatment. Insurance companies should lump addiction into the mental health coverage. Unfortunately, there are still people who think addiction is a choice.
Over 40 million people suffer from mental illnesses every year. We need to be able to get the treatment we need without our insurance company treating us so badly. Dealing with a mental illness is scary enough without having to fight the insurance company for coverage.
Insurance companies should be required to automatically provide coverage for mental health patients. Hillary Clinton will continue these efforts when she is elected. She is advocating integrating physical health care with mental health care. She will also improve job and housing possibilities for those who are sick. She also wants to train law enforcement in dealing with people who are experiencing mental health crisis. We need to get her elected, so ObamaCare doesn't get repealed.