Utah political leaders, candidates take new pledge to support better mental health policy

Inseparable, a national nonprofit working to improve mental health policy for all, today applauds candidates on the ballot in Utah for prioritizing mental health. This comes as part of Inseparable’s Mental Health Now campaign, a platform for candidates who are serious about advancing mental health solutions.

In Utah, 20 elected leaders and candidates and counting have signed the Mental Health Now Statement of Support, which asks elected officials and candidates to affirm their support to: 

  • Increase the availability of mental health care for everyone in need,
  • Promote wellness and early intervention by expanding youth mental health services, and 
  • Improve crisis response for anyone experiencing a mental health emergency.

The mental health crisis is hurting families in every neighborhood in Utah and it is critical that anyone on the ballot in November knows mental health is a priority for voters. Across the state in August alone, there were 2,843 calls received by the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline with an 86% answer rate. In Utah, there are an estimated 25,000 children with major depression who do not receive treatment. As we enter the last month of midterm campaigns, Mental Health Now is creating an open dialogue between politicians and the public to show that mental health is a bipartisan issue everyone can agree on.

The signatories include State Legislative Candidate David Jack who said the following in response to signing the statement of support, “As a Family Medicine Physician and with my history of service in the Army, I am fully aware of the mental health issues that exist in our society. Proper treatment and support for those with difficulties will result in a VERY improved population, with less inflation, less elevation of interest rates, and fewer offenses. Even having services available will diminish the problems that exist, as such a resource calms people down (even if they are not used). Knowing that you can have assistance makes the assistance less necessary. It is important to strengthen the positive characteristics of ALL people. Available emergency services for mental health problems significantly reduces long-term problems.” 

“We are seeing candidates show up for mental health and sign the Mental Health Statement of Support from across Utah. In the final month of campaigns this cycle, one thing is becoming clear, mental health is front of mind for Utahns and candidates are getting serious about real solutions” said Inseparable founder Bill Smith. “I love seeing Utah be a national leader, and we will look to those elected to give us hope and enact bipartisan policies that will save lives as we grapple with an ongoing mental health crisis.” 

American voters overwhelmingly want their elected officials to do more to support mental health care. This is the rare issue on which Americans across party lines and from all walks of life agree: 

  • 93% of Americans are in favor of giving primary care providers the tools to identify, treat, and manage mental health and substance use conditions.
  • 89% of Americans favor expanding the number of mental health providers available by investing in their education.
  • 90% of Americans favor expanding access to telehealth and virtual mental health care options.
  • 90% of Americans are in favor of requiring all health plans to cover mental health services at the same level as physical health services.
  • There is nearly universal support for expanding mental health services and supports for students in schools. Research finds 90% support from Americans– across differences in household income, education, marital status, race and ethnicity and parental status. 

The launch of the Mental Health Now Campaign comes on the heels of Inseparable’s launch of a State Legislative Mental Health Caucus. The new caucus will serve as a space for legislators to keep up with the latest legislative trends in mental health, get access to experts in the field and timely updates, and learn from one another. The caucus has 111 state legislators from 36 states – 30 Republicans, 1 Independent, and 80 Democrats. As covered by MindSite News, at launch, the Mental Health Caucus is chaired by Sen. Vin Gopal (D-NJ), Sen. Daniel Thatcher (R-UT), House Majority Leader Valerie Longhurst (D-DE) and Rep. J.M. Lozano (R-TX). 

Candidates and Elected Leaders in Utah Who Signed Mental Health Now Statement of Support: 

  • State Chamber / Local
    • State Senator Daniel Thatcher
    • Nate Blouin, Candidate for State Senate
    • Parker Bond, Candidate for State Senate
    • Patricia Bradford, Candidate for State Senate
    • Jill Fellow, Candidate for State Senate
    • State Representative Steven Eliason
    • State Representative Marsha Jean Judkins
    • State Representative Rosemary Lesser
    • State Representative Katie Olson
    • Patrick Belmont, Candidate for State House  
    • Daniel Craig Friend, Candidate for State House  
    • Dee Grey, Candidate for State House  
    • David Bruce Jack, Candidate for State House  
    • Brittany Karzen, Candidate for State House 
    • Anthony Loubet, Candidate for State House
    • Zeno B. Parry, Candidate for State House  
    • Nikki Pino, Candidate for State House
    • Miles Pomeroy, Candidate for State House
    • Evan Rodgers, Candidate for State House
    • Thomas Young, Candidate for State House

Elected Leaders in Utah in Inseparable’s Mental Health Caucus: 

  • State Senator Daniel Thatcher (Co-chair)
  • State Representative Steve Eliason