President Obama on Monday said it is time to bring mental illness “out of the shadows.” At the National Conference on Mental Health, sponsored by the White House, Obama spoke about the stigma associated with mental illness.
The White House has focused on mental illness after a string of mass shootings last year generated interest in improving the country’s mental health services, The Washington Post reports.
In a speech delivered at the conference, Obama said most suicides each year involve someone with a mental health or substance abuse disorder. “And in some cases, when a condition goes untreated, it can lead to tragedy on a larger scale,” he added. “Too many Americans who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence, rather than seeking help,” Obama said. “And we need to see [to] it that men and women who would never hesitate to go see a doctor if they had a broken arm or came down with the flu, that they have that same attitude when it comes to their mental health.”
Under the Affordable Care Act, health insurers are required to cover mental health services as an essential health benefit. This means all insurance plans must cover these services, and pay for them at the same rate that they pay for medical and surgical services.
Several new projects were unveiled in conjunction with the conference, the article notes. These include youth-oriented public services announcements on MTV, a media campaign aimed at veterans, and information about mental health services posted on video gamer online message boards.