Election Day, November 2, is less than three weeks away. Let’s all focus on what’s at stake in the final stretch.
No matter how tired we might be from “horse race” headlines or candidate attack ads, Election 2010 is critical to saving mental health care. Medicaid and state mental health services, which have faced devastating budget cuts in the last two years, provide greatly needed support for people living with mental illness.
Mental health is a federal, state and local concern. So please look closely at candidates for U.S. Congress, governorships, state legislatures, county boards and city councils.
In recent weeks, NAMI has issued a series of Election 2010 press releases urging editors, reporters, bloggers and others to ask candidates about mental health. Between now and Election Day, you might also want to circulate the following press releases in your community.
- State Grades: 21 Ds, 6 Fs for Mental Health Care Systems
- State Suicide Rates
- Top 10 States Hurt by Mental Health Budget Cuts
- Number of People Living with Mental Illness in Each State and the Percent Served by State Mental Health Agencies
- Disability Income and State Housing Costs
- State Figures: One in 10 Children Lives with a Mental Illness
You can also raise awareness about election issues related to mental illness with these three activities:
- Browse websites for candidates running for statewide and local offices. Become familiar with their statements on issues, particularly budget priorities, health care, housing and education.
- Discuss your impressions with family, friends and others. Talk with candidates if you get a chance. Personally, as a former state legislator, I have always found it most important to ask people what they are for rather than against in order to build common ground.
- Ask family members and friends whether they intend to vote and encourage them to exercise this right. Remind them on the Sunday and Monday before Election Day. Help people get to the polls by offering them a ride or helping with caregiver responsibilities. Go to vote with a group of friends—stop for coffee and make it fun.
NAMI is non-partisan. We don’t endorse political candidates. We do, however, know that mental illness does not discriminate. It affects Republicans, Democrats and independents alike.
See NAMI’s “Vote Mental Health” website for information about the voting rights of people living with mental illness and other policy issues. And please remember to vote on November 2!