Hundreds, if not thousands, of special interest/lobbying groups will be vying for the Democratic and Republican Parties' attention as they determine their platforms at this summer's conventions. They also will be trying to make their concerns known to the presidential candidates. Groups like labor unions, AARP, and NAACP command especially strong attention and interest from politicians and party bosses.
Unfortunately, the interests of the behavioral healthcare field have not been widely recognized by the two parties. This is a shame, considering that up to 1 in 4 adults has experienced a mental health problem and substance use issues have major impacts on every American community. Behavioral healthcare associations represent large and broad constituencies, and they should have a larger voice on the national scene.
I wrote about this in my February editorial, as well. Behavioral Healthcare columnist Ron Manderscheid told me not to despair—advocates are taking action to change this situation. Check out Ron's column in our current issue, in which he discusses the Whole Health Campaign. This could really make a difference if many organizations get onboard.