How will mental health care policy influence your vote?

Bernie Sanders’ recent comment joking that Republican debates show a need to invest in mental health has spurred comments that the presidential hopeful isn’t sensitive to people with mental illnesses.

The remarks came at Sunday night’s Democratic presidential debate. From NewsCut blogger Bob Collins:

At last night’s debate, Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders perfectly illustrated why efforts to improve the lives of people with mental illness run into so many roadblocks: It’s still “OK” to make fun of the illness.

“We are, if [I’m] elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health,” Sanders said. “And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in mental health.”

Funny stuff, cheap joke and all. Hillary Clinton joined in the laughter.

“It referenced people with mental illness explicitly as a means to bash Republicans, and it perpetuated the idea that those with mental illness are inherently dangerous,” Vox’s German Lopez wrote today.

Collins notes that Sanders is one of few politicians who have given national attention to mental health care, despite his comment at the debate that brought it back to the spotlight, though likely not in the way he intended.

Today’s Question: How will mental health care policy influence your vote?

  • PaulJ

    The mind is such a grey area and candidates are not equipped to deal with nuances, so I doubt there’ll be policies that matter.

    • John Dilligaf

      Ha. You worked grey matter into your post.

  • Gary F

    It’s a tough subject. Sure they’ll all have some one liners to show they are for it and be ready and willing to beat up the competitor if they don’t have a one liner just to appeal to the low information voter.

    I think they’ll avoid it. Just like they always have, because its a tough subject, with no simple answer, that besides complex medical issues, there are lots of liberty and privacy issues.

  • Sue de Nim

    Mental health care, and conservatives’ insensitivity about it, is one of the plethora of reasons I stopped supporting the GOP years ago.

    The trouble I have with Sanders’ quip is not that it perpetuates the stigmatization of the mentally ill, but that it trivializes the appalling policy positions of the Republican candidates for president. They are not clinically mentally ill. If they were, they could be excused and their stances discounted. We could safely disregard them if they were running on a platform of rooting out space aliens from the government or averting the zombie apocalypse. But they can’t plead insanity for their hate-mongering, their plutocratic economic policies, their beating of the war drums, or their support for torture. Trump in particular is an arrogant bully, and his opinion that he’s qualified to be president is a clear example of the Dunning-Kruger effect, but he’s not insane. It’s worse than mental illness; it’s ill will and ill intentions.

  • Gordon near Two Harbors

    It won’t. Mental health policy is very important, but so are many, many other things.

  • Gary F

    “Mental health care, and conservatives’ insensitivity about it,”

    Sanders and Clinton are running for President as Democrats.

    • Sue de Nim

      The awkwardness of Sanders’ quip notwithstanding, his and Clinton’s policy positions are an order of magnitude better for everyone who’s disadvantaged in our country, including the mentally ill, than any of the Republicans’.

  • reggie

    Sanders’ attempts at humor often seem to fall flat. He’s not a great listener, nor a particularly empathetic person. Not electable, either.

    Is delusion of adequacy a legit mental illness? If so, then all of the Repub candidates (except maybe the one true grown-up, Kasich) are so afflicted. If such delusion is not a mental illness, then they are just crazy. Either way, ill-suited for the office they seek.

    • Sue de Nim

      “Delusion of adequacy” is a good summary of the Dunning-Kruger effect. It’s not a mental illness but a cognitive bias. People with little skill or experience in a field tend to overestimate their ability in it. The effect comes from the fact that they don’t know how much they don’t know.

  • whitedoggie44

    Is the fact that Bernie can’t add or subtract and seems more intent on punishing success a mental disorder?

  • Rich in Duluth

    I’m not a single issue voter, so the important issue of mental health is part of the full spectrum of issues I look at when voting. Sanders includes mental health care as part of his plan and Clinton wants a comprehensive healthcare system for all of us. I’ve heard nothing from the Republicans on this.

    Sanders made a mistake when he used mental health in his joke about the Republicans, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that he sees mental healthcare as an important issue.

  • Ralphy

    Mental health care policy certainly affects who I can vote for. I think of Jim Ramstad and our collective loss.