Obama Shines Light on Psychological Issues in America, Illuminating the Importance of Professional Treatment


By Stephen M. Pfeiffer, Ph.D.

In an effort to bring mental health issues “out of the shadows,” President Barack Obama called on Americans to rally in support of those suffering with psychological disorders at this year’s National Conference on Mental Health held June 3 at the White House.

“Struggling with a mental illness or caring for someone who does can be isolating,” Obama said. “It begins to feel as if, not only are you alone, but that you shouldn’t burden others with the challenge.”

The sentiments are indeed true for those who must cope with mental illness. The truth is that each of us probably knows someone who is dealing or has dealt with a psychological disorder. Now more than ever, Americans are urged largely in part by the White House Administration to give attention and encouragement to individuals with mental disorders who need professional help.

The conference follows closely on the heels of last year’s shooting massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut, a tragedy that claimed many innocent lives in the face of untreated mental illness. Obama emphasized, however, that most people with mental health issues are generally not violent.

“We can do something about stories like this,” he said. “In many cases, treatment is available and effective.”

But according to an article at the

Huffington Post

, more must be done to illuminate the need for mental health treatment in America. Carolyn Reinach Wolf, mental health advocate and founder of Campus Behavioral Health Risk Consultants, brings to light important questions:

What about funding that is earmarked for mental health services?

What about privacy issues that impact both families and the medical community?

And what about asking insurance companies to better fund mental health consumers?

While the Obama administration is to be applauded for highlighting the importance of mental health in America, more must be done. The bottom line is that mental health merits more than discussion – it requires action. Like other diseases, mental disorders are treatable and while more discussion can help to alleviate social stigmas, it isn’t enough. Treatment is essential. Research now supports the fact that many mental health treatments have proven to be not only as or more effective than those used to treat common physical disorders, but are even more cost-effective (Source:

Economic and Social Research Council

). In Great Britain, for example, mental illness makes up half of all illnesses for people under the age of 65.

As a part of my practice, I assess and treat individuals to achieve more optimal functioning in their personal lives or in their workplace settings. Treatment is an important part of feeling whole again. For more information about my work as a practicing psychologist or to inquire about psychological evaluation, you can reach me at or at my website,