Fucking Pundits–my reaction to the Newtown coverage.
January 5, 2013 Leave a comment
The news is all still a flutter about the Newton tragedy. As, I suppose, it should be. Lucky for all of us with any intelligence level, the conversation has moved away from violence in video games and the media to something substantial, mental health. Unfortunately, the conversation about mental health, causes of mental illness, and access to mental healthcare has been disgustingly shallow.
When I turn on the TV and find myself watching any news about this event, I begin to hear about how we need to address the “causes of mental illness” and “increase access to mental healthcare.” My issue with this is how flippantly it is said by people with no understanding of mental illness and no understanding of how difficult it can be to get mental health care, or even what mental healthcare entails.
What causes mental illness? Truth is, a million things…we think. Trauma, genetic abnormalities, poor social structure, inherited diseases, poor models of behavior, neglect, abuse, malnutrition, neural abnormalities, lack of concrete resources such as food, neighborhood violence, drugs, in utero toxins, anything…bad luck. I’m sure every psychologist,social worker, etc. can think of more. I would love to see how Congress and the powers that be would address each of these and more. Short of eugenics and parenting licenses, you can truly prevent all mental illnesses. And as a big believer in Positive Psychology, Resilience, and Prevention, that takes a lot for me to say. There will always be mental illness, no matter how hard we work. There are things that we can do to prevent or lessen the impact of mental illness. We can give families, school, and communities more education and resources to understand how to respond and live with mental illness. We can fund better research to understand the origins, process, outcomes, and interventions (community-wide) to address all different disorders. We can make it easier for mental health professionals to practice, by which I mean lessening their load of bureaucracy so they can focus on the treatment aspect and not on checking off the right boxes. We stop closing mental health facilities. We can make real services available in schools, rather than the shit they get right now. We can recognize the effect of neighborhood trauma on children and intervene. We can build more community mental health centers to prevent 6 months wait lists. We can do more than medicate people. Again, I’m pretty sure everyone that reads this can think of more things.
My point is, every time I hear pundits talking about “we need to address the causes of mental illness” “we need to address the issue of mental illness” “we need to asl;dfalkdfjla!” I want to throw the TV across the room because they have no idea what they are talking about. I want to strangle everyone from the NRA president to Rachel Maddow. You can’t make mental illness a sexy issue like media violence. So stop. Fuck off. Get out of my field. Or at least talk to someone with some fucking intelligence and background in the area.
**Oh, and BTWs, lack of god in school does not cause mental illness. Fuck yourself., Huckabee.