World Mental Health

World Mental Health Day has come and gone.It appears that this day is in acknowledgement of the worlds mentally Ill and reaffirmation of developing treatments that help and ameliorate symptoms.The social and political madness that abounds is not included in this definition and prescription.I suspect for good reason.E Fuller Torrey has raised the issue of confusing mental health promotion with mental illness treatment in his book American Psychosis.No where is it clearer that this is an important distinction ,than when we address the matter of mass gun killings.Few if any of these acts would be committed with”a policeman’s hand on the perpetrator’s shoulder”.These acts require legal and law enforcement sanction and prevention,including a rebalancing of civil rights and protections (especially second amendment rights).I believe that those with executive power at local levels have to use it and await court challenges.(A tactic plentifully employed in violation of voting and other civil rights!).
Some who have written to this blog have appealed to something called rational objectivity as part of an appropriate response within a mechanistic universe.Others see emotionality as an essential part of human response necessarily to be encountered and dealt with and indeed supplying much of the motive force for behavior.Others have retreated to a”sandbox”periodically for reflection.Realistic objectivists have misinterpreted this retreat as playful.First,I see nothing playful in this retreat.If the “sandbox” is the childhood crucible for socialization wherein patterns of thought and behavior are learned, return thereto implies a willingness to relearn and re-experience ,with no guarantee that a waiting world will respect or accept proffered changes.Second,for some reason women use the “sandbox”construct much more often than men.( In my limited experience).I think that the “sandbox” is a dangerous place to return to and most men are predisposed(self protectively) to see it as a play place without consequence to thought feeling or behavior.Many women seem to know better.In any case the use of the sandbox cannot guarantee “world mental health”.(What if there is no other way!?)The game goes on but the players do change!
As always opinions are welcome!

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4 Comments

  1. Professor Thomas, I do not pretend … nor would I want to mislead … to possess an expertise I do not have. I’m merely an observant … a lowly layperson. On the subject of mental health … may I state that my basic premise is that there is no such thing as dysfunctional? We are all challenged by what Nature throws at us … and, of course, the goal is survival.

    Been watching Patrick Kennedy advocating for mental health … diagnosis and treatment. In the end, suffering misunderstanding is not financially protected. Naturally, what catches the attention is the assumed titillating aspect of his narrative … gossip. Sad commentary on society. But, after hopefully cutting through the tawdry, the real aim is treating mental disorders as any other presently identifiable human component in the inalienable right of pursuit of happiness. After all, how long has it been since Freud and Jung … though unable to reference other more in-depth researchers? I tend to equate our journeys to that of Moses’ tribe wandering in the desert for the required multi-generational rebirth of 40 years. I guess Nature hasn’t shown us a faster pace yet … assuming that we know when the 40 years start.

    It appears we’re going to have to go at it at the slow pace … gun control, health needs, etc. … the local level … towns, states … until the gerrymandered legislators figure out that they truly represent a very, very narrow swath and their seats are no longer secure. As has been pointed out lately, human freedom of action and/or thought moves on … resulting, by affirmation, in apparent gains at the federal level … zero for squashing progressive policies. Healthcare, gender rights, decriminalization in racist policies (though still waiting for the protection of voting rights … I suppose those with paternalist attitudes do not trust/are afraid to trust in trickle-down knowledge). Hand-in-hand is the urgent question … how much pain do we as a society have to endure until a disciplined approach to gun ownership is addressed? The corruption is obvious by the mere strength of opposition to common-sense regulation. (BTW, we too are a gun-owning family.)

    On mental health … when associated with weakness of character? That’s another tough roadblock society … through culture and/or religion … above all, lack of understanding resulting in fear … has placed for us to hurdle. How can we address treatment without fear of discovery, stigmatization? Again, life requires the ability to survive … starting with our upbringing. What did Nietzsche say … “That which does not kill us makes us stronger?” Yes, life presents us with many tests (the Greeks certainly addressed that with their “tasks.”) At the least, starting with the “sandbox” where our children are compelled to be on their own and learn from their first peers … jumping quickly to the high school years, not really Mickey Rooney’s Andy Hardy, more James Dean’s Cal. Perhaps not until Freud verbalized it did anyone begin to recognize the mother-son … mother-daughter … father-daughter … father-son relationships. These factors seem to be entering the mix of the mass shooters. Life. I don’t know … just observing … fearing all the unintentional errors that I have surely committed.

    What we all need right now is what we’re lacking … courage. Our courage to demand the truth from our elected officials … rather than the comforting pandering that does not request sacrifice/postponement on our part … which their ambitions for power freely throw our way. We’re like the moving herd of wildebeest escaping the predators’ attack, surviving another day. Mental health is part of our human being. It needs to be respectfully acknowledged, with treatment of any manifestation addressed in 21st century fashion … not the Middle/Dark Ages. How? I’m not qualified.

    I sincerely do not wish my passions to come across with an air of superiority. That is far from what I feel. I care about the survival of my species … more immediately, and selfishly, about the well-being of my family. The thought of destinies placing them in front of someone’s demented bullet is something that I cannot prepare for. How can I … we … ask for other families to face that. On whose behalf?

    As always, I thank you for encouraging my untrained input.

    P. S. Among the developed countries, the United States does not have a monopoly on mental illness … just a monopoly on deadly results by guns.

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