Recently, we experienced another tragic event: a mass stabbing at a Pittsburg-area high school. Just one week prior it was yet another mass shooting at Fort Hood. And before that a long line of devastating and preventable tragedies of the kind that are seemingly becoming more common by the day. The Navy Yard, Aurora, Newtown, Virginia Tech, Columbine: once names that simply brought to mind placid locations across our great nation that, sadly now, conjure devastating memories of unspeakable heartbreak.
In the midst of all of this, a national dialogue has again begun to emerge. It’s one that, given the questionable mental stability of a great many of the shooters in these events, involves discussions revolving around our nation’s attitudes and policies regarding mental health.
~ Are we doing enough to treat the mentally ill?
~ How can we better screen people for mental illness?
~ How can we keep guns out of the hands of those with histories of mental instability?
And so on…
But here’s a question I’ve yet to hear: “What can we do to prevent mental illness to begin with?”
Seems logical. And truthfully, if we were dealing with an epidemic of flu, obesity, or some other physical malady, prevention would be at the top of this list. But strangely, our culture’s attitudes and habits pertaining to mental health differ significantly from those toward physical health.