More than 330 elected officials and political candidates have pledged to make mental health a priority in their platform just weeks before the midterm elections.

The Mental Health Now Campaign, launched by the nonprofit Inseparable, a two-year-old mental health advocacy organization, asks officials to promise to support policies that increase the availability of mental health care for everyone in need, promote wellness and early intervention by expanding youth mental health services, and improve crisis response for anyone experiencing a mental health emergency.

“In the final month of campaigns this cycle, one thing is becoming clear: Mental health is front of mind for Americans and candidates are getting serious about real solutions,” said Inseparable founder Bill Smith. “We will look to these elected officials to get to work and enact bipartisan policies that will save lives as our nation grapples with an ongoing mental health crisis.” 

 American voters want their elected officials to do more to support mental health care, according to a survey by Inseparable and The Harris Poll. 

The survey found voters were overwhelmingly in favor of key mental health policies such as expanding access to telehealth-based mental health services and requiring health plans to cover mental health services on the same basis as services for physical health conditions. Voters also expressed support for policies that will help expand the number of mental health providers and bring more mental health services to schools.

The list of Democratic officials pledging their support includes: Illinois Governor JB Priztker, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers, Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, and U.S. representatives David Trone of Maryland, Haley Stevens of Michigan, and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois. 

Though no Republican governors are currently on the list, Republican state legislators pledging support include Steve Eliason of Utah, Jil Tracy and Terri Bryant of Illinois, Richard A. Bennett of Maine, Marsha Jean Judkins of Utah, Ruth Briggs King of Delaware, Jim Struzzi of Pennsylvania, Jon Dunwell of Iowa and Daniel Thatcher of Utah.

The list also includes Markwayne Mullin, a Republican congressman from Oklahoma running for the U.S. Senate, and Pennsylvania Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, the Democratic candidate for Senate there. For a map of candidates that have pledged click here.

“Mental healthcare is healthcare, and healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” Pritzker said in a statement, touting Illinois’ progress to make “mental health and substance use treatment more affordable and accessible.” 

Last month, Inseparable launched a bipartisan mental health caucus, which MindSite News covered here. MindSite News and Inseparable are also among the co-sponsors of an October 18 forum focused on mental health issues featuring the Republican and Democratic candidates for Senate in Colorado.

Type of work:

Josh McGheeJournalistCriminal justice reporter

Josh McGhee is an investigative reporter covering the intersection of criminal justice and mental health with an emphasis on public records and data reporting. He has covered Chicago on various beats for...