President Theodore Roosevelt called the presidency the “bully pulpit” for its ability to serve as an awesome
platform to advocate for an agenda or raise awareness for issues. Over the last 50 years, presidents have
approached mental health to varying degrees. The American Presidency Project
https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/, hosted by the University of California, Santa Barbara, is a fantastic
online non-profit and non-partisan resource of presidential documents including speeches.
By searching for “ Mental Health” https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/advanced-search?fieldkeywords=%22Mental%20Health%22&field-keywords2=&fieldkeywords3=&from%5Bdate%5D=&to%5Bdate%5D=&person2=&items_per_page=100 , 409 records since
1948 to present day, from Dwight D. Eisenhower to Donald Trump appear. These range from party
platforms to proclamations, letters to statements, and much more.
Your assignment is to pick 3 presidents across the decades, one from each time period:
1948-1981: Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, or Carter
1981-2000: Reagan, Bush (41), or Clinton
2001-Present Day: Bush (43), Obama, or Trump
For example, you could select Kennedy (Period A), Clinton (B), and Obama (C), or;
Eisenhower (Period A), Reagan (B), and Trump (C), etc.
Pick one item in the archive from that president that talks about mental health. In this assignment, you
Analyze each item on its own. What is the mental health issue discussed? What language is used? What is
the president’s message when discussing the issue.
Compare the language and perspective of mental health overtime: Analyze how each president’s document
discusses mental health. Do you see an evolution in language or tone over time? What stands out to you?
What surprises you?
How do you think presidents will talk about mental health in the future? What do you think will change/stay
Cite specific language/terms/phrases in each president’s documents related to mental health
3 pages maximum. Title page/reference list do not count towards this.
Anything more than 3 pages will receive an automatic zero.
12-size font, 1” margins, double-spaced.
Use APA formatting
Makes sure to cite each specific document you select for each president.