Mental Illness Is a Real Problem and Needs Massive Attention
Since my daughter took her own life, I have been going through various emotions, mostly sadness and emptiness, but I do have to find the cause. I know she stated that she was miserable and while she knew she would hurt us by doing this, she just didn't think it was fair to make her live in a world that made her miserable.
I read the headlines - more massive shootings, more overdoses, more suicides - it's actually very depressing. So many, especially the politicians say take away the guns and there will be no more shootings. Lock up the drug users and there will be no more overdoses. Suicide victims, well, they just really don't cover that. That is just wrong. What do all three of these things have in common? They all can be brought back to mental illness. There is something we can do, but it will take some changes. Major changes. Changes that are long overdue!
I visited one site - Drug Policy Alliance (click here to visit their pages). The USA alone spends more than $51 billion a year on the war on drugs. Well, the way they are doing this isn't working. Back in the 80s, the USA had about 50,000 in jail for drug violations. That number today is more than 500,000! Half a million people in jail instead of getting help. Who pays for that? You do - the taxpayers. It's time we the people stood our ground and said enough is enough.
Portugal decriminalized all drugs back in 2001. Yes, they still jailed the dealers, but those using for personal use were given treatment instead of jail time! Imagine that! Portugal had set up a panel to decide if they should do this or not. The panel said yes to decriminalization, but also said to use the funds that they are using for incarceration and use them for treatment! What a change! They feared their country would become a drug mecca for others, but that didn't happen. Now, imagine if $51 billion dollars annually was spent here on education and helping people, instead of just ruining their life! Just imagine the changes that could happen.
Now, if we legalized recreation use of marijuana in all the states, we would all be having an increase of tax revenue, just like the states receive from alcohol sales. Imagine if we used those funds to help with mental illness awareness! That would be great. People could learn that mental illness isn't something to be ashamed of. People could learn that there could be help for them! Imagine the difference that could be made in so many lives.
My daughter was not a drug addict and she was not a mass shooter of innocent people. She worked hard to help some friends of her get themselves into rehab and off of drugs. It just takes caring - someone to open up to and be honest that there could be a better life for them. Do you seriously think that all the people addicted to drugs are just stupid? That they don't know that this could cost them their lives? No. They have a mental illness that they are trying to get away from any way they possibly can. Do you think suicide victims are just plain stupid and don't care and take the easy way out? Not at all! They are hurting and feel they have no where else to turn. Do you think mass shooters grow up saying that one day they are going to massacre untold numbers because it will feel so good for the world? No, they have a mental illness.
Let's take mental illness out of the shadows and start sharing some real education. Let people know that this is not something that they should be ashamed of. There is help available and make that help readily available for all. I live in Sussex County, NJ and most of the help that is available is not even in the entire county. For example, a lot of the treatment centers are being privatized and you have to have premium health insurance and a fat wallet to get the help? Seriously? Do you think someone that is so depressed and unstable really cares about health insurance?
We need to make a stand. NOW! More and more people are starting to wake up to the realities going on around us. More and more people are volunteering to try to make the awareness known to more. What we need is for our government to wake up and realize it isn't a war on drugs - it's really a big scream for help. From so many! Wake up America and let's help those that need the help and perhaps, together we can make a better world for all!