NEW YORK (AP) - A lot of progress has been made toward reducing the stigma around mental illness in society, but there’s still more to be done, Vice President Joe Biden said Monday at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.
“We need you more than ever, quite frankly we need more of you than exist today,” Biden told the crowd in New York City.
Biden touted the Obama administration’s efforts, including aspects of the Affordable Care Act such as a ruling that requires that mental health and substance abuse services be covered comparably to how surgical and medical services are covered. He also pointed out that many mental illnesses are apparent by young adulthood, so people being able to stay on their parents’ plans until the age of 26 is particularly helpful.
Biden also spoke about measures like funding for increased mental health services as well as an initiative for research to better understand the human brain. He also highlighted increases in mental health services aimed at veterans.
Biden said that the Veterans Administration has added more than 2,400 mental health professionals in recent years.
“Government has only one truly sacred obligation. It is to prepare those and equip them who we send into harm’s way, and care for them when they come home,” Biden said.
He said public sentiment was moving toward being supportive of those with behavioral health issues and getting them help.