Kamala Harris Aims To Put An End Solitary Confinement With New Mental Health Care Plan
"We have failed when it comes to policy solutions for Americans struggling with mental health," Harris said.
Senator Kamala Harris has released a proposal for the number of mental health treatment beds available in America to double and for an increase in access to virtual mental health counseling.
The proposal was released Monday and was followed with an event in South Carolina with radio host Charlamagne Tha God — who has previously spoken about his own mental health struggles.
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“We have failed when it comes to policy solutions for Americans struggling with mental health. Too often we only focus on health care from the neck down, and we need to ensure we are addressing health care from the neck up,” Harris said in a press release shared with Blavity Politics. “My plan will deliver mental health care on demand and get care for all Americans who need it by removing obstacles like high copays and deductibles, providing direct access to providers via telemedicine, and investing research dollars into public health challenges facing our veterans.”
When we talk about health care, we often frame it as the neck down—but we need to take care of people from the neck up. In my Administration, mental health care will be a priority. pic.twitter.com/KAm7GgHO0k— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) November 25, 2019
Harris's plan also includes a criminal justice reform angle by eliminating solitary confinement. The plan will instead give those imprisoned therapeutic alternatives aimed at rehabilitating the incarcerated.
Mental Health America says South Carolina is one of the worst states for access to mental health care. According to a report by the Associated Press, Harris' campaign lists South Carolina, Iowa, and Nevada as priorities in her expansion of mental health treatment beds — states which are also early voting locations.
Harris's proposal is not far off when looking at societal issues. A Time report from June shows suicide rates are higher than at any point since WWII, listing social media use as a possible cause. Another study from the University of Pennsylvania in 2018 showed trauma from police shootings of black people has spread through the entire community. Monday's proposal could coincide with Harris' plan to expand Medicare should she be elected.