Tim Kaine touts college mental health plan on call with student leaders

AP

Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine laid out the portion of Hillary Clinton's new mental health care plan that's geared toward college students Monday afternoon during a conference call with student leaders across the country, vowing that a Clinton-Kaine administration would be committed to helping institutions of higher education provide easily accessible mental health services to students in need of help.

"We're going to ensure that all schools offer mental health services so that no young person has to ever think twice about going for help," Kaine said on the call, which a Clinton campaign aide said was attended by more than 100 student leaders.

The Clinton-Kaine campaign's focus on college mental health services is a clear attempt at outreach to millennials, who polling shows are breaking for Clinton.

Kaine stressed that beefing up community-based mental health services — such as campus mental health centers — are a cornerstone of the campaign's mental health plan. 

He said that if colleges and universities offer affordable, unstigmatized and easily accessible mental health care, it could help prevent potential suicides or acts of violence on campuses across the country.

Kaine also spoke about serving as governor of Virginia during the Virginia Tech massacre, which until earlier this year was the worst mass-shooting in American history.

Tim Kaine, far right, attends a vigil for those killed in the Virginia Tech shooting massacre.Source: Jared Soares/Getty Images
Tim Kaine, far right, attends a vigil for those killed in the Virginia Tech shooting massacre.  Jared Soares/Getty Images

He said investigations after the shooting found that the killer had a history of mental health troubles and adjudications, yet did not get "the treatment he needed after those adjudications."

"One in 4 college students today do acknowledge that they're dealing with mental health challenges at some point along the way, and it's very important that we're aware of that and make clear that it's normal, theres no stigma," Kaine said.

Kaine added that educating community leaders — such as students, professors, student services staff and law enforcement officials — about how they can intervene if they are worried about a peer's mental health is also a key part of the campaign's plan.

He said the campaign wants to ensure that, "Everyone on campus is armed with information on where to get help, or true information on things they can do if they see students with mental health issues."