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When President Obama addressed the nation in his January 2015 State of the Union speech, he made only two vague references to mental health, despite it being an issue that impacts millions of Americans either directly or indirectly.

Each year, an estimated 590,000 Americans, who would be receiving mental health care in a better system, fall through the cracks.

The historic relocation of many of those experiencing serious mental health issues from hospitals to streets to prisons, however, isn’t good fiscal policy, and it’s downright shameful from a human rights perspective, especially because it allows society to facilitate an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude toward the issue.

A majority of mental health experts agree that that the current system is in shambles, but, as was evident in the most recent State of the Union address, few significant efforts have been made to improve it.

Without proper resources and support systems, these people are at high risk for ending up in the country’s jails, prisons, homeless shelters, on city streets, and, too often, in the morgue.

Even if we vote or choose to ignore the problem through reduced funding, decentralized resources, and archaic treatment, it’s an issue that won’t resolve itself.

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