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At Sunday night's Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders tried to take a stand on mental health and knock Republicans in the same breath — and it didn't seem to go as planned.
After Hillary Clinton urged voters to "compare the substance of this debate to what you saw on the Republican stage last week," Sanders tried to piggyback onto her scorn, but ended up ruffling the wrong feathers.
"You know, we are, if elected president, going to invest a lot of money into mental health," Sanders said. "And when you watch these Republican debates, you know why we need to invest in that."
On Twitter, those struggling with mental health pointed out exactly why Sanders' joke was inappropriate:
Dear @BernieSanders, My mental health is not a joke. It does not make me a racist, judgmental, sexist person. That was a despicable comment.
I have a mental disability. Racism (etc) is not a mental health problem. It's a hate problem. @BernieSanders @SenSanders
@BernieSanders @HillaryClinton I'm part of the 18.2% of American adults with mental health problems. Bigotry is not a mental illness.
Really didn't like Bernie's crack about mental health. It hit home for me.
1. Yo @SenSanders, I love you and all, but I have mental health issues-that doesn't make me an idiot racist. https://twitter.com/NPR/status/706673960155484160 ...
Others added that Sanders' statement perpetuates the harmful stigma surrounding people with mental health problems.
Yes, Bernie. We need funding for mental health- including education to reduce stigma so people like you stop making jokes trivializing it.
Hahaha isn't ableism super funny? Nah it's cool Bernie, don't worry about that mental health stigma https://twitter.com/CahnEmily/status/706671631813451776 ...
GOP debates: bigotry & bullying, but not #mentalhealth problem. Support #Bernie, but not jokes that contribute to #mentalillness stigma
And ultimately, Sanders distracted from a meaningful message on why the government should be focusing on mental health at all — a point he once made without a hitch at a debate in January.
Bernie made an important point about mental health then completely ruined it by saying they needed to as the GOP candidates are crazy
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