I believe there should be parity in access, treatment and funding of both mental and physical health. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed not only the shortfalls in our healthcare systems, such as healthcare being tied to jobs, but also how critical access to mental healthcare is for many people weathering this crisis. We must continue to do the hard work of reducing the stigma of mental illness. Education is imperative to building more awareness, and that’s something I’m committed to during my campaign and if elected to State House. I am also committed to fight for increased funding for mental health services, and will work to strengthen requirements for insurance companies to cover mental health as a benefit.
I think it’s also important to not be afraid to share personal stories. Years ago, I had a miscarriage, my grandmother died, and my father suffered a scary life-altering stroke, all within a 3 month period of time. Not surprisingly, I became depressed, and as I still tell people today, “It’s pretty hard to pull yourself up by your bootstraps when there aren’t any bootstraps to pull.” Fortunately, my health insurance paid for therapy, and my depression was resolved within 6 months without medication. That experience gave me insight into how even mild depression like what I had can influence so much of your daily life and how effective mental health therapy can be. I also have much more empathy for people experiencing severe mental health challenges.