Election Season: combating anxiety with action!

Election Season: combating anxiety with action!

Election Season: combating anxiety with action!

Much has already been published and discussed regarding the effect that the 2016 Election Season is having on the collective mental health of visitors, residents, and citizens of the United States.

Gail Sheehy, writing for POLITICO magazine, points to the effort being taken by the mental health community to address the kind of anxieties and trauma being discussed by clients/patients in the therapeutic setting:

“Over the summer, some 3,000 therapists signed a self-described manifesto declaring Trump’s proclivity for scapegoating, intolerance and blatant sexism a “threat to the well-being of the people we care for” and urging others in the profession to speak out against him. Written and circulated online by University of Minnesota psychologist William J. Doherty, the manifesto enumerated a variety of effects therapists report seeing in their patients: that Trump’s combative and chaotic campaign has stoked feelings of anxiety, fear, shame and helplessness, especially in women, gay people, minority groups and nonwhite immigrants, who feel not just alienated but personally targeted by the candidate’s message…

… The Marine veteran therapist Dougherty, for one, is experimenting with raising the question of political stress more directly among his regular clients. “I wrote a letter about the prevalence of hate speech in the campaign, about terrorism and mass shootings, and left it in my waiting room. I closed by saying, ‘If these things are troubling you, I want to invite you to bring it into your therapy session.’” Out of 30 patients, 20 raised those concerns, and Dougherty is working to help address them.

It isn’t enough to defeat Trump the candidate, some signers of Doherty’s manifesto say, and that’s not really the point. They believe they have to fight Trumpism—the emotional pain they say he has already caused. “There is a real and present danger for a national mental health crisis,” Doherty says. “And regardless of the outcome of the election, it will continue to need our attention[1].”

No matter your political viewpoint, taking action is a measurable step that can be taken towards reaffirming your own values and beliefs.

Apart from voting during this Election Season, you can also review the following:

2016 Mental Health Voting Toolkit, developed by Mental Health America

2016 Voter Resource Center, developed by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)

Latino Talent Initiative, and Fact Sheet, developed by the Latino Victory Project



[1] http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/10/donald-trump-2016-therapists-214333