by Joshua Hoe
I am so tired of politicians yapping about fixing the “mental health crisis” in America.
Every time “mental health reform” is mentioned you do not need a decoder ring to figure out that what they are really saying is that they oppose firearm restrictions. Just a dodge.
We have a mental health crisis in this country but nobody is really trying to fix it.
The saddest thing:
Mental health reform would help the mass-shooting maniacs but that kind of psychopathy is present in only a tiny percentage of the people who desperately need access to mental health care.
The second saddest thing:
Most mass shooters are not felons and got their guns in a manner that none of the proposed reforms could effect (I am calling for actual restrictions).
Here are three ideas that could start making a difference today.
1) Provide Mental Health Access For All
Stop talking about the crisis and do something about it.
Problems become problems when people cannot talk about them or work them out. Therapists help people talk about their problems and help them work those problems out.
Most insurance covers limited therapy (and has massive out of pocket costs). Many of the good therapists will not accept most insurance plans. It is time to fish or cut bait. If you care about helping people be better adjusted and less mentally troubled, start getting them all access to therapy.
2) Stop Telling People To “Suck It Up”
Congress has nothing to do with this one. This is about how we socialize people (particularly men) to deal with problems alone.
Here are the top answers I get when I talk to other addicts about why they don’t get or seek out help:
* It makes me feel weak to ask for help
* I am supposed to fix my own problems
I felt exactly the same way before I found recovery.
This notion that asking for help is weakness makes anyone who asks for help feel like they have failed at being American.
We need to stop playing cowboy in this country.
It is terrible that “The Greatest Generation” dealt with a World War and a Depression but it is insane to continue to believe that they did so without causing collateral damage.
The WW2 generation accomplished amazing things but we need to stop pretending these accomplishments happened with no social costs.
All of the problems that we encounter today were in full-effect in the 1950’s.
The difference? Nobody talked about, for instance, alcoholism and the resulting social costs and people looked the other way when people got in non-fatal fights.
We live in a mass fantasy where people really believe that “strong” people handle their problems alone.
A mass fantasy where anyone who asks for help is weak.
A mass fantasy where men should never cry or talk about their emotions.
We, as a society, have to stop thinking like this. This notion, that mental health can be protected internally, has been exposed time and again as lunacy.
I wonder what the total cost in suffering has been from “maintaining the macho?”
It is time to stop talking about the “wussification” of America and start accepting that we are bleeding internally because we can’t talk about our problems, share our feelings, or ask anyone for help.
3) Stop Stigmatizing Mental Illness
Obviously, part of the problem is the name itself. It probably should not be known as “mental illness” at all.
A high percentage of the population struggles with stress and depression. Over time, stress and depression are maladies that can become chronic and cause massive personal and social costs.
I think if anyone is mentally ill, everyone is mentally ill.
And this is the problem when politicians and people talk about mental illness they are really referring to sociopaths and psychopaths.
This makes everyone else considering getting help feel stigmatized.
It is time to stop talking about mental problems and struggles as exceptional and as representing “illness.”
It is time to start talking about mental struggles as a normal part of the human condition.
We want as many people as possible to feel comfortable enough to seek out and get the best possible help. We have to stop stigmatizing mental health care.
Access to mental health care isn’t a cure-all.
It doesn’t always work.
Some therapists are not very good and sometimes the match between therapist and patient is not right.
But it is almost always better to have therapy than to have no therapy at all.
Access to therapy, however, reduces the risks of mental health problems. Talking about problems and sharing feelings is a preventative measure.
What are your suggestions? What do you think? Share your thoughts, leave a comment!