US Election 2016

US election: Hillary Clinton unveils mental health plan

Hillary Clinton Image copyright Reuters

Hillary Clinton has released a plan to address widespread mental health problems in the US, by joining up treatment with existing health care.

The Democratic presidential nominee's comprehensive proposal tackles better access to mental health treatment as well as suicide prevention.

About 43.6 million adults in the US experienced mental health illness in 2014, according to a government study.

Mrs Clinton also plans to address drug and alcohol addiction this week.

"Her goal is that within her time in office, Americans will no longer separate mental health from physical health when it comes to access to care or quality of treatment," Mrs Clinton's campaign said in statement.

About 17 million children in the US experience mental health issues, including one in five college students, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Meanwhile, nearly one in five veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars reported experiencing post-traumatic stress or depression.

Highlights from her plan include:

  • Creating a national initiative for suicide prevention
  • Requiring mental health coverage to be covered in health insurance plans
  • Expanding reimbursement structures in Medicare and Medicaid
  • Increasing funding for community health centres
  • Implementing mental health training for police in how to deal with individuals
  • Increasing investment in brain and behavioural science research

The former secretary of state also pledged to hold a White House conference on mental health during her first year in office.

Her statement did not say how much her plans would cost or where the money would come from.

Polls suggest she is ahead of her Republican rival Donald Trump nationally and in key battleground states, about 70 days before the election in November.

He has raised questions about her health, pointing to unfounded conspiracy theories, and on Sunday he challenged her to release her full medical records.

Mr Trump's doctor said on Saturday he spent just five minutes on a letter endorsing the Republican candidate's health, while Mr Trump's car waited outside.