It’s me, checking in here, with a topic that I’m sort of afraid to write about. I only say that for two reasons. The first is because I’m sort of afraid of the backlash I’m going to get with it. If you’ve read my blogs, I’ve been pretty nice and haven’t necessarily discussed anything controversial, except for Lepage, which was common sense, but it’s time.
Our country has a serious issue and, in all honesty, until this issue is taken care of, we will continue to see the problems we are seeing that make us sick to our stomach. I turn on the news and I hear things about people eating other people, adults shooting innocent children, children and babies being abused, and all of these things have one thing in common: sick perpetrators that need help. I mean sick in two ways, you know. Sick as in disgusting, but also sick as in, well, sick. They’re mentally ill.
Now, when I hear these sorts of things, I will admit that my first response is to lock these people up and put them as far from society as possible, or in extreme cases, I will say, “They deserve to be shot.” I do believe that there are evil, demonic forces working behind human personas to perform these senseless acts, but there’s more to it than that.
As I grow older, I wonder, is our society getting worse? I’m not really sure this is the case. I think that when I was younger, and even before that, our society didn’t allow certain topics to surface. People may argue that these acts are on the rise because of the media reporting these things forward, but parental abuse used to be something that was done behind closed doors. Along those lines, we didn’t have the technological capabilities we do today to report worldwide news. With that in mind, to say society is getting worse would not be technically off base, but instead, I think, awareness for the problem behind these issues has been swept under the carpet.
The second reason I was scared to write about this topic is because it hits close to home. Members in my family have struggled with mental illness since I can remember, or rather, since I could recognize it. Mental illness is a real thing. I have seen first hand what a chemical imbalance is capable of.
Now, please, don’t read me wrong here. Please don’t think that this blog is me justifying any acts committed by an individual who has an illness. Please don’t think I’m making excuses because I have people close to me who struggle with mental illness. Anything that is done to harm someone else in anyway is wrong, and justice should always be served. But, if we continue to just send these people to jail without any sort of help, we are wasting our time and millions of dollars.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 5% of all American adults struggle with serious mental illness. Other statistics show that 1% of all American people are homeless. This proves that our mental health problem sort of trumps homelessness. Don’t take me out of context here, every working American deserves a home, however when you analyze the statistics further, you see that 25% of homeless people suffer from mental illness. Along those lines, approximately 50% of incarcerated adults also suffer from mental illness. I could analyze statistics all day, but the reality justifies what I’m saying: If our country would start by being proactive with its mental health problem, we would not be dealing with the same issues we currently are.
Our country’s health care system is based mainly on reactive care, rather than preventative. Insurance companies do not give discounts to gyms, only to prescriptions and doctors. Our schools are being bombarded with standards and requirements so physical wellness has become small percentage of the school day, when we all know that kids need 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Yes, adults, too! There is also a well known correlation to mental stability and exercise. Doctors continue to prescribe medication upon medication, however, never send their patents to a clinic that requires physical wellness as a cure for depression, diabetes, high blood pressure, just to name a few.
We can continue to aide other countries in their time of need, and I think that we should as individuals, but as a country (and a government) this dilemma needs to be on the forefront. We can standardize health care all we want to, but until we rebuild our broken system, it won’t matter.
We should be rewarding American people for making healthy choices rather than billing them for drugs and overnight stays in the ward. If we would make this a priority, we would see less of the things on the news that make us want to pull our kids out of school and move to Walden Pond.
Seriously- something’s gotta give.
We can regulate gun control all we want, but the biggest common variable in these atrocious acts of violence is mental illness. We can change all these circumstances that bring tears to our eyes and shame to our hearts, but it starts with admitting that we have a problem and agreeing that things need to change.
Face the truth today.