As of late 2021, nearly a third of adults in Florida reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/or depressive disorders - roughly the national average. More than one in eight adolescents reported having a major depressive episode in 2019. Deaths of despair - including suicides, overdoses, and alcohol disease - are up across virtually every demographic. Our nation’s mental health crisis has many faces, but it is a crisis through and through.
When mental health is mentioned in our discourse, it tends to be in the context of identification and treatment. And indeed, these are critical problems that demand critical problem solving. Individuals suffering from anxiety, depression, or addiction, not receiving the attention or care that they need, can be a danger to themselves and sometimes - tragically - to others.
But there is also something deeper underlying our nation’s mental health crisis. It is a need for hope and empowerment, for a sense of community and belonging. At its very core, this is the reason that the Forward Party exists, the reason that we seek better representation and grassroots-driven, dynamic problem solving to help people feel freer, to help communities thrive, and to help our democracy work. It is to give us all something to look forward to, because we so dearly need it.