Running for President and its Potential Strain on Mental Health
"When I Ran for President, It Messed With My Head."
These are the opening words to Andrew Yang's feature on Politico (excerpted from "Forward: Notes on the Future of our Democracy"). Yang suspended his presidential campaign on February 11, 2020, and then went on to run for mayor of New York City before conceding this past June.
Yang includes many details about his experiences running for public office on the national level. While some may be quick to dismiss his claims pertaining to mental health, it should be noted that he garnered a mostly young fan base, also known as our future generation (FiveThirtyEight). This future generation is the same set of people that I surveyed to find out which political topics meant most to them, and they collectively decided that "mental health" was an issue to feature on my website via my presidential candidates tab.
He believes that "in many respects, running for president requires qualities that would make you a terrible leader[...] the job was simply seeking the center of attention." Yang's line of reasoning includes the exuberant amount of press coverage and neuroscience. According to Sukhvinder Obhi, a neuroscientist at McMaster University in Ontario, people put in positions of power (such as being the potential president) lose the ability to emphasize, which effectively lowers their emotional intelligence.
As someone who stays connected with politics, it is not surprising to hear that a presidential candidate underwent a significant amount of stress and mental health challenges. Yet, it is surprising that a presidential candidate admitted to this very struggle. Imagine the world we would live in if all presidential candidates were this forward in writing.