Mental Health Issues Are Not Internal or External, They’re Both!
I’ve been seeing a lot of news lately and sharing some of it about the need to address the societal issues surrounding us when we talk about mental health.
For example, rates of anxiety are growing at an alarming rate, but maybe it’s because being anxious is the proper response to the current world.
That’s the premise of this NPR piece – What’s Really Causing America’s Mental Health Crisis?
It’s also the premise of an op-ed by Robert Reich – We Don’t Have a Mental Health Crisis. We Have an Economic and Social One
Both make the case that what we see in the large increases in anxiety and depression might not be a “sickness” caused by something unique in every person. It might be the stress of living in a divisive culture, dealing with racism, sexism, and hatred daily. Worried about climate change, school shootings, living near poverty, etc.? We can’t always expect people living with all of these factors to take time for self-care. How are they supposed to do that, and what will it change?
Thankfully both pieces also come to the same conclusion. No one issue is causing these increases, and no single change will solve it.
We can’t change society by getting more people mental health treatment, but we can’t treat individuals with anxiety and depression by only making societal change, which is likely to be a long process.
We need to do both. I’ll give Robert Reich the last word on this:
I’m not arguing against better access to mental health care. In fact, quite the opposite: Increased staffing and improved access to care are very much needed.
But in addition to providing more and better access to mental health care, we must also try to make our society healthier,