NEW YORK — Andrew Yang today announced his plans to expand mental health coverage and increase the use of telehealth to improve the wellbeing of all Americans. Mental health is an important component of people’s overall health, and utilizing telehealth will enhance quality of life and reduce hospital visits, while curbing deaths from chronic diseases.
“Comprehensive care in the 21st century means including crucial aspects of wellbeing and we should be integrating regular mental health checkups into primary care,” said Andrew Yang. “Telehealth is an especially effective approach in rural areas and for mental health services, and it will allow licensed physicians to administer medical services and medication with ease and increase accessibility for patients.”
Mental health should be treated more seriously by our healthcare system. There is a mental health crisis in America with 1 in 5 adults experiencing mental illness annually. Our life expectancy is declining due in part to increasing rates of suicide, especially among American youth. The teen suicide rate has gone up 56% from 2007 to 2017, and it is the second leading cause of death for Americans between the ages 10 and 34. 7.7 million youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder each year, but only half receive treatment.
Our veterans, too, do not receive the necessary mental health treatment they need when they come home. 22 veterans commit suicide every day since many don’t seek treatment. We need to destigmatize veteran treatment and support their stability to ensure a successful transition to civilian life.
Additionally, the demand for physicians is outpacing the available supply, and the shortage is causing problems for the nation’s growing and aging population. Telehealth is an effective approach for doctors across the country to provide care for patients in rural and underserved areas over the internet without needing a specific redundant license to practice medicine in the patient’s state. To facilitate telehealth, we must streamline the licensing system and introduce a single, comprehensive telemedicine license that, once granted, will allow care providers to see patients in all 50 states.