Mental Health in America

With all the shootings that have happened, the debate over gun control has come to the forefront of politics. It’s my belief that gun control is not the problem. Mental health is the problem. And no one talks about it. No one is willing to admit that they have a problem and no one is willing to talk about depression and suicide. Until we remove the stigma, things like this are going to keep happening. 

The majority of people who own a gun legally in the United States do not go on mass shooting sprees. The trend of all these shootings is not that all the shooters had guns, it’s that all the shooters had mental health problems. 

A lot of people still don’t understand depression. People don’t understand why you can’t just “be happy.” Some think that depressed people are just throwing a “pity party” for themselves and that they need to see all the good things in their life. People in that state of mind, don’t see anything good. They can’t. They see only in black and white, they feel as if they are just walking around in the dark and they are just desperate for a way out, whatever way out that might be. I don’t say this to sound like a Zoloft commercial, I say it from experience. 

We can only hope that the way out that they see does not involve taking anyone else with them. 

I am not in any way excusing any of the people involved in any of the shootings. I am simply trying to shed light on the very dark root cause of the issue because no one else does. We can’t politicize these events. We need to talk about mental health. We need to help those who are struggling emotionally. The topic needs to stop being so taboo. Why are we all so afraid to talk about it? Why are we all so afraid to feel?

We all try and numb the pain, through antidepressants or alcohol or drugs. Whatever it may be, we need to allow ourselves to feel the emotions rather than numb them. We need to feel them so that we can cope with them. Healthy coping skills are the most important thing. It’s what prevents us from hurting other people or ourselves. 

I was lucky enough to be able to see a therapist in 8th grade when I first started showing signs of depression. And I admit, it’s not something that I talk about often or to just anyone, not because I’m ashamed of it or worried of what they might think but because of trust. I have to trust the person enough to tell them that I was in therapy for about 6 years. But once I do, once I explain to them how I got there and what I struggled with, they understand me a little bit more. They understand why I am the way that I am. They get a glimpse into my past. And I hope that I can get them to understand depression a little bit more. 

We need to talk about depression more. We need to help those who don’t know how to help themselves. Please talk about it. Don’t be so scared. Get educated and start talking. Please. 


2 thoughts on “Mental Health in America

  1. I whole heartedly agree. As someone who struggles with depression and other mental illness, I have always resented the stigma. I’ve thought about ways to educate people, to make them understand. After such a tragedy I am feeling an urgency to make people listen. We need a change in how we view the mentally ill, and we need to do more to help each other. A shooting spree should not be easier or more affordable than treatment.

  2. Pingback: Two years already?? | Confessions of a Pre-Law Student

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