Monday, May 20, 2013

President Bill Clinton Discusses MH Care at APA Annual Meeting

"On balance I think you should be hopeful,” Bill Clinton, the 42nd president of the United States, told APA members yesterday in a keynote speech at APA’s 2013 annual meeting in San Francisco. “We have come a long way on this issue of mental health coverage since my grandmother was hospitalized briefly in a state hospital in the 1950s. I have seen the dark side of this, and I have seen the bright, wonderful work that you do.”

Clinton’s comments were part of a remarkable address in which he talked to a packed hall of meeting attendees by satellite about a range of public-policy issues—foreign and domestic—which, because of global interdependence, now require new ways of problem-solving that allow all parties win. He cited as an example the work of the William J. Clinton Foundation in negotiating with the soft-drink industry to revamp its business plans so that the companies could still profit while dramatically decreasing the amount of sugar in drinks consumed by schoolchildren.

Similarly, though some people still need to be persuaded of the value and importance of mental health coverage, the issue is now one of getting all parties to work together to make it happen, he emphasized.

“This issue [of mental health access] still needs to be destigmatized among some,” said Clinton. “But it is now largely a question of problem-solving….There has got to be a way out of this [political gridlock] so that we join every other wealthy, decent society on earth and provide universal, affordable health care to all that doesn’t exclude mental health care.”

To read more about sessions at this year's APA annual meeting, click here.


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