Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., have been leading a campaign to transform mental health care in the U.S. as families grapple with challenges connected to mental illness, opioid addiction and psychological injury. In an article for Motherboard, Biden describes the way mental health care can help strengthen America’s communities.
Lately, the Democratic Party has begun to stand up and welcome the parents, fathers and children in our country who need help struggling to cope with mental health and substance abuse issues, writes Tom Bier, writing for Motherboard.
Biden said those initiatives contributed to his decision to retire as vice president this year, adding that “early assessments of my own health show that it was through my children that I ultimately chose to retire.”
“When I was first elected to Congress in 2000, I was, at the time, 50, and they were, at the time, 26. I never imagined I’d be here today,” he wrote. “But in fact, there I was, as a father and as a public servant.”
Biden said he would “forever be grateful for the dedication, compassion and support that you and I show to one another,” and “to your families and your children.”
And Biden didn’t stop there, pointing out that the 57 congressional pages – like his – are still working behind the scenes to bring mental health care into the mainstream of U.S. society.
“In our country, mental health care is often sold as special or pragmatic, treating every disability and illness as something to avoid or ignore. I believe this is so and that fighting the stigma of mental illness is critical,” wrote Biden.
“As Democrats, we must in the next two years strongly support some version of Senator Biden’s law,” he continued. “We must also fight for the bill we filed last August, which aimed to speed up treatment for the 25 million Americans who suffer from mental health disorders, and provide benefits to people with substance abuse disorders and other mental illnesses.”