The United States has experienced 40 year growing epidemic of anxiety and depression.
We have seen an epidemic of Autistic Spectrum Disorders that has gone on for at least 20 years. Those people are now young adults. We have no idea what they will be like as adults.
We have thousands of returning veterans from two wars, many of whom have PTSD or secondary trauma. The dirty secret is that many young people enter the armed forces already compromised. That is why they go in. I know. I have treated many of them.
The divorce epidemic started in the 1970’s and damaged millions of children who are middle aged adults and younger today.
Our inner cities are in a state of anomie.
We are further damaging the mental health pool by importing millions of poor people with less resilience, and many from war torn countries.
60% of Americans are popping one pill or another, 1 in 10 take an antidepressant. 1 in 4 women over 45 is taking an antidepressant. Opioid abuse is epidemic. Pot use is way up.
Americans are over-weight and unhealthy physically. Unhealthy people are at a far greater risk of developing mental health problems.
1 in 10 gamers is addicted to video games. They cannot function in society.
Pornography abuse is epidemic as 50% of men now report watching pornography regularly on the internet. One third of pornography viewers are women. Pornography overstimulates dopamine receptors thus destroying the potential for healthy sexual activity and increasing the incidence of depression and anxiety in abusers.
Our president has used his office to divide the nation for political gain. His healthcare plan is a disaster. Given their lack of trust in the federal government, many Americans are sequestering themselves into enclaves and buying guns at an alarming pace. This situation creates fertile ground for paranoia among people that do not trust their own government.
We are in a mental health disaster.
This is my common sense plan:
We need to apply common sense mental health analysis to all conditions and reject political correctness.
We need to implement positive psychology mental health promotion approaches starting in childcare and at every facet of community life. It is easy. It is not psychobabble. It is inexpensive and it works.
We need massive reductions in immigration and H1B1 visas. Our communities cannot manage the mental health needs and the costs incurred of so many new people.
We should dramatically overhaul the community mental health and VA systems, eliminating the psycho-social assessment, treatment planning, and discharge planning monstrosities. They add no value, they destroy productivity, and they burn out providers.
We need to end the reliance on psychiatrists because the value they are adding is not worth the cost. Many other common sense reforms should be done. The mental health system is a dinosaur. It is time for a revolution in community mental health.
All professional counseling services should be pushed down ladder from psychiatrists and psychologists, which are very expensive to masters level providers and in some cases lower. The goal should be that every person can have access to affordable psychotherapy from an effective psychotherapist.
We need real researchers to shine the light on the pharmaceutical scandal so that we can move people to non medical remedies for mental health conditions.
We need to adopt the Finland psycho-social supports model, which commences when a person is first diagnosed with a serious mental health condition. It is working well there.
We need a grass roots positive person development, nationwide initiative to combat the negative effects of entertainment, drug abuse, sports addiction, gambling, smoking, overeating, commercialism, video gaming, and internet abuse. The movement would promote and encourage healthy lifestyles. It would cost nothing. (This is my most controversial proposal but as a communitarian, I believe it is the most important.
Finally we need to attend to the spiritual needs of Americans by strengthening religious institutions and humanistic institutions like arts organizations and community groups that also provide meaning and purpose. We need to demand that churches and secular organizations abandon their divisive social justice creeds and work for all Americans.
We are at a pivotal place in American history. Change is in the air as we have a new administration and reform-minded people in positions of influence all over the United States. The time is now for a revolution to improve the mental health of the nation.