Presidential Candidate Seth Moulton Wants Mental Health Screening To Be Routine

By Kelly Burch 06/03/19

Moulton, who served in Iraq, has been open about his own mental health struggles.

Presidential Candidate Seth Moulton
Presidential Candidate Seth Moulton Photo via YouTube

Presidential candidate Seth Moulton wants to make annual mental health screenings part of routine care, both for active duty military members and American high schoolers as part of his plan to prioritize mental health care. 

Moulton, who served in Iraq with the United States Marine Corps, has been open about his own mental health struggles.

"There is still this stigma against mental health care," he said in March. "Post-traumatic stress is very real. I have had post-traumatic stress and I have a lot of friends who have had it. And I have lost two Marines in my platoon since we have been back.”

Because of his personal experience, he knows how important proper treatment of mental health is. 

"Post traumatic stress is a great example of a mental issue that is curable,” said Moulton, who currently represents Massachusetts in the House of Representatives. “I know a lot of vets who have gotten through post-traumatic stress, including myself. So we can fix this, but we need to be investing in it and we are not.”

This week, Moulton formally released his mental health plan. It calls for making annual mental health screenings standard for military service members and high school students. It would also introduce mindfulness training for both of these groups. 

“Mindfulness training is preventative medicine as pioneered today by the special operations community and other elite units,” Moulton wrote. 

In addition, Moulton would establish 511, national mental health hotline. 

“Mental health is a core component of overall health: it strengthens our economy and country,” Moulton wrote. “Serious mental illness costs America up to $193 billion in lost earnings per year, and touches everyone in America directly or indirectly. We must do everything we can to protect mental health coverage in this country, and that means protecting this coverage from the current administration’s efforts to undermine these essential health benefits.”

Although his plan focuses heavily on service members and veterans, Moulton said that it’s important to remember that mental health affects all members of society. 

“We must recognize that mental health matters to everyone. We all have personally dealt with mental health challenges, or have a family member, friend, or co-worker who has dealt with them, whether we know it or not,” he wrote. “High schoolers today are particularly at risk; in addition to the traditional anxieties of being a teenager, they face scrutiny on social media and live in a time of school shootings—all of them should get the support and care they need.”

That starts with talking openly about mental wellbeing. 

“We need to make sure that we all can discuss our mental health and get whatever help we may need,” Moulton said. “That is why I am telling my own story, encouraging others to tell theirs.”

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Kelly Burch writes about addiction and mental health issues, particularly as they affect families. Follow her on TwitterFacebook, and LinkedIn.