• Katie Nork

Mental health in our society

Photo courtesy of sandiegofreepress.org

“Twelve shot at [school, theater, hospital, etc.] in [insert state here].” We’ve all heard that headline too many times to count now and it’s a sad reality of the world in which we live. We are constantly blaming the guns for killing those innocent people but we are missing the bigger issue here. Guns don’t fire without someone pulling the trigger just like this article isn’t going to get done unless I type it. We are missing a bigger issue here in this world by placing the blame on inanimate objects.

I am not going to sit here and advocate for guns though, because that’s not the point I am trying to get across. The point that I am trying to get across is that we have a huge mental health issue on our hands here and I am not talking about the recent terrorist attacks done by ISIS, which are acts done purely out of hate for those that are different than them. I am talking about the loner kid who shoots up a school because he couldn’t get a girlfriend. Maybe this could have been prevented if he had the proper help to put him back on the right track. Maybe this could have been prevented if a loved one recognized his pain. We can’t undo the actions of these individuals and we can’t bring back those innocent people that were killed, but maybe we can prevent something like this from happening again. Don’t get me wrong: I am not defending the actions of these individuals in any way because what they did was the worst sin of all but I am trying to raise awareness to mental health.

We need to take a closer look at mental health here in this country because it surely isn’t the guns that are pulling their own trigger. Those with mental health problems are looked down upon by society and out casted because we are afraid of them, we think they are strange or we are afraid to try and help them. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.” Most of the individuals that become mass shooters have mental diseases such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety and bipolar disorder or a combination of those. NAMI also states, “Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year.” That means over half of adults suffering from mental illness haven’t gotten the proper treatment that they need.

I think we need to start looking out for our loved ones and help them get the help that they need. Take them to a doctor or a psychiatrist, they can prescribe medication that can help balance the hormones in their brain. Let them know that they are loved and cared about. Maybe we need the government’s help, but somehow this problem we are facing needs to be fixed before more innocent lives are lost.

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