There is a direct link between the growing prison population and the lack of mental health resources. The only difference is that we can scare people into paying to build more prisons and keep “dangerous people” away from us. It’s much harder to convince people to invest in prevention through mental health treatment, even if that would be much more effective in protecting everyone.
Look, we know that untreated mental health issues impact people’s lives in many ways. Would the lack of treatment at 20 for bipolar make a huge difference in lifetime income? Of course, it would impact the ability to even finish college successfully and that would then continue to impact things significantly. Would the need to take leaves of absence or go to work every day with depression and no access to help for that cause you to be less successful? Again, statistically, I think that would be obvious that it happens more times than not.
Having trouble with stress and anxiety? The suggested solutions often require adding even more to our to-do list. Meditate, practice mindfulness, do acts of self-care, etc. But we often forget that maybe the most important act of self-care is getting enough sleep.
Don’t even get me started on the fitness industry and the number of people who talk about “earning your food/sleep” through exercise. Argh!
This study would indicate that sleep is not something you want to mess with. Simply getting enough would help us with our mental “junk”. No, it won’t cure depression or eliminate symptoms of bipolar, or any of the other things that some of your friends will, unfortunately, suggest, but it does serve a core function for the healthy functioning of your brain, and that is certainly one place to start making things better, no?
It’s true that most people dealing with bipolar or schizophrenia are not dangerous, and it’s also true that someone in the middle of a psychotic episode is not going to seem very “normal” to us. Unfortunately, what that often means is that people will call the police, because who else is there to call? Then, the police, who are trained to deal with dangerous criminals, act accordingly, because, again, they have no other training. The best option for them is to get the person off the streets and way from the public, which means jail, because, once more, there’s probably not anywhere else to take them.
Now they are part of the criminal justice system. A place with almost no mental health treatment available.
Of course, as the article below also reminds us, that’s only if they actually survive all of these encounters, which is, far too often, not the case.
I was going to share this article without comment, but I also realized that I really, really, want you to read Johnnie’s last two paragraphs, because this is vital: “I believe today, there are many among us who have recovered from mental health issues and yet no one knows their story. We all want to…