Today marks the 125th anniversary of Labor Day celebrated as a national holiday. First signed into law on June 28, 1984, by President Grover Cleveland, today constitutes a yearly tribute to the contributions that American workers have made in strength, prosperity, and the well-being of our country. However, for many Americans, especially the residents in Midland and Odessa Texas who suffered yet again through another senseless shooting that left seven dead and another 22 injured, today may bring about feelings of fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. Today, let us dive into the Mental State of our Union!
Since the most recent American mass shooting, and the 2nd in the state of Texas in just one month, Democratic politicians for president have continued their onslaught of attacks against firearm manufacturers and conservative legislatures. However, what is missing from their Socialistic-spatting and war against guns is the current mental state of our union. What perpetuates mental health? More importantly, what drives an individual to go on a murderous rampage, inflicting death in destruction across a community? Mentally, as a nation, where are we now, and where do we need to go? With a history of youth offenders responsible for many mass shootings, is the mental state of our nation’s children being ignored?
According to The Centers for Disease Control, mental disease among children are described as severe changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, causing distress and problems getting through the day. Among the more common mental disorders that can be diagnosed in early childhood are attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and behavior disorders. The CDC uses surveys like the National Survey of Children’s Health, to understand which children have diagnosed mental disorders and whether they received treatment.
Facts About Mental Health Disorders in U.S. Children
- 4% of children aged 2-17 (approximately 6.1 million) have received an ADHD diagnosis.
- 4% of children aged 3-17 years (about 4.5 million) have a diagnosed behavior problem.
- 1% of children aged 3-17 years (approximately 4.4 million) have diagnosed anxiety.
- 2% of children aged 3-17 years (about 1.9 million) have diagnosed depression.
Some of these conditions commonly occur together. For example:
- Having another disorder is most common in children with depression: about 3 in 4 children aged 3-17 years with depression also have anxiety (73.8%), and almost 1 in 2 have behavior problems (47.2%).
- For children aged 3-17 years with anxiety, more than 1 in 3 have behavior problems (37.9%), and about 1 in 3 also have depression (32.3%).
- For children aged 3-17 years with behavior problems, more than 1 in 3 also have anxiety (36.6), and about 1 in 5 also have depression (20.3).
The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides the following data, which cannot be ignored.
20% of American children today are living with a mental disorder! Typically, these ailments go undiagnosed or uncontrolled, which leads to suicide (ranking 3rd in the leading cause of death for American youth). However, one statistic that is missing from the above data is what percentage of these children, as a direct cause of their condition, leads them to not only care about their life but moves them into a direction to cause harm to another individual? Surely it cannot be argued that if a child’s mental disorder causes him/her to dismiss the importance of their life, that they would do the same regarding the life of another?
With such stark evidence regarding mental disease in our nation’s children, it is no wonder that when left undiagnosed or untreated, these conditions manifest and worsen in adulthood. According to NAMI, these below figures indicate the truthfulness in the previous statement.
1 in 5 or 43.8 million American adults have a mental disease. With the above data, it cannot be denied that there is a direct correlation between both childhood and adulthood mental disorder and that these conditions either manifest or progressively worsen as a person ages. As with any recommended injury, treatment is needed. I, for one, encourage I.C.E. therapy whenever injured:
I – Identify that mental disease exists in our country and is directly responsible for the actions of individuals.
C – Contemplate as a nation, what actions our identification measures have uncovered and organize a national overhaul of mental health treatment for both our nation’s children and adults.
E – Engage in our nation’s communities and schools (both private and public) to demand cognitive and mental health education to allow for the parent, teacher, student and citizen awareness regarding signs, symptoms, and treatment of mental disorders.
Considering the increased tragic events of Texas, Sandy Hook, Dayton, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Columbine, our nation moves on; through the shedding of tears, we become callus at what causes someone to hurt themselves or someone else. Since Creation, evil has and will forever exist. However, as a nation, we must accept that our society is made up of inherently good people. Although some may suffer, we should and can provide both grace and help to our fellow brother and sister.
It is simplistically easy to blame an apparatus of evil; guns, knives, bombs, vehicles, etc., as the culprit and responsible party for killing. However, until our nation addresses what indeed perpetuates mental disease and what drives someone to hurt themselves or someone else, despite all the tears and all the vigils, the body count of the innocent will rise as the misdiagnosis of our nation’s mental state continues.