SALT LAKE CITY — South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg released his plan for combating mental illness and the opioid crisis on Friday, according to multiple reports.
Buttigieg is currently running in the Democratic primary. He hopes his plan will bring sweeping changes to the mental health community.
Details of the plan include Buttigieg increasing the number of mental health workers and forcing insurance companies to pay for psychiatric treatment.
Buttigieg also wants to add mental health care into the physical health care system.
Per The Huffington Post, Buttigieg wants to treat mental health as a public health program, using federal government money to fund state and local efforts to prevent and identify mental health problems.
The plan would reportedly cost $300 billion over 10 years.
“For years, politicians in Washington have claimed to prioritize mental health care while slashing funding for treatment and ignoring America’s growing addiction and mental health crisis,” Buttigieg said in a statement, according to Politico. “That neglect must end. Our plan breaks down the barriers around mental health and builds up a sense of belonging that will help millions of suffering Americans heal.”
Specifically, the plan would ensure that at least 75% of people in need of treatment would get the care they need. Similarly, 11% of those who need substance abuse treatment — which is about 21.7 million people, according to Politico — would receive the attention as well.
The plan also wants to stop 1 million deaths by 2020 that are connected to drugs, alcohol and suicide, according to CBS News.
Those in need of a mental health checkup would also receive one.
According to CBS News, Buttigieg’s policy pointed to the racial disparity when it comes to drugs, alcohol and suicide.
“While mental illness and addiction rates have risen significantly for this demographic, this often ignores the reality that mental illness and addiction have historically been and continue to be high, or are also rising, among people of color and other marginalized people and age groups,” the policy states.
There’s no question that the opioid and mental health crises have become widespread throughout America. The Deseret News spent 2017 researching how the opioid crisis impacts those in Utah, sharing stores about a drug kingpin who grew up in a Utah community, and a Latter-day Saint mother who struggled for years breaking an addiction.
Similarly, the Deseret News spent 2018 researching how anxiety plays a role in the lives of parents, children and industries throughout Utah. Not only is it an issue for some Latter-day Saint missionaries, but also for college-aged young adults.