Because of the increase of school shootings across the United States, there is an ongoing debate regarding solutions. One of the most looked at causes behind mass shootings are the mental state of the shooters themselves. Most mass shooters have some things in common with each other.
1. Grew up in a fatherless home
2. Was on prescription psychotropic drugs
3. Had stressful events going on in their lives
For category #1, the solutions are obvious. We need to revamp the family law courts in way that there aren’t “winning” parents and “losing” parents. I speak about this topic in-depth in my published report sent to the U.N. titled, “Global Human Trafficking in The Family Law Courts”, which can be found on Amazon.
However, for the sake of this article, I want to focus on the mental health aspect. It is undeniable that our school systems and our healthcare systems are handing out psychotropic drugs like candy! Kids who aren’t paying attention in class are quickly prescribed Ritalin. Depressed teenagers are quickly give Prozac; the situation for adults isn’t much better.
Let’s look at modern rappers like, “Lil Xan”, “Future”, and the recently deceased 20 year old rapper, “Lil Peep”, who died from a Xanax pill laced with Fentanyl. The rapper was seen on Instagram frequently swallowing hand fulls of Xanax pills daily. His young fans who idolized him are most likely following suit.
According to the “business-insider” news site, the United States of America is the world’s leader in prescribing anti-depressant medication. According to one of its articles published, it was found that 12% of all Americans are on some type of drug used to treat mental illness.
There are pros and cons to these numbers. Take South Korea for example, a very developed nation, yet it is ranked #3 for suicides. In the Korean culture, seeing a doctor for depression is a social stigma that shows weakness, especially on part of a male. It isn’t surprising considering that 80% of all suicides in the world are attributed to men. Because mental illness is pretty much ignored in South Korea and among males in general due to society pressures to remain “stoic”, people are killing themselves left and right.
On the other hand, the United States, which is ranked between #30 – #40 (depending on the study), for suicides. So, there is some evidence that perhaps anti-depressant medications can work. Or is it merely cultural? Jamaica often ranks at the very bottom of the list for suicide rates despite being a poor country. Although the poor, the communities are very close knit, and their culture is very cheerful. Perhaps it’s because marijuana is legal to smoke in the country! Who knows!
But, I do know one thing; anti-depressants and other drugs used to treat mental illness carry many side-effects. “Suicidal Thoughts”, is often listed as one of the major side-effects of Prozac. Imagine that! A medication designed for suicidal people which may cause suicidal thoughts! There is no doubt that taking psychotropic drugs alters the brain chemistry, just like alcohol or any other intoxicant.
It is in my opinion that occupational therapy, talk therapy, and community interaction are among the best treatments for depression. However, yet again, there is a draw back to these types of therapies as well.
Anytime an American sees a counselor for depression, suicidal thoughts, or any mental health concern, they are then “logged” and “stereotyped”. Those who frequent a mental health counselor could have such activities used against them in a custody battle or those who seek to purchase a firearm.
Imagine you are battling depression, so you go see a counselor, only to have it used against you in the future. This is why many, myself included, fear the idea of seeing a mental health specialist during times of great stress. Once you visit these people, you are very “labeled” and will be “marked”. If you find yourself facing any future litigation, the courts can uncover your medical records whereas they will say,:
“Ahhh! You went to a mental health counselor several times for depression! You aren’t fit to own a gun or have custody of your kids!”.
In some cases, this may true, whereas in others, it could be an unfair stereotype. When people mentioned that they see a counselor or take anti-depressant medication, people will often sneer at you or perhaps take a step back. We associate mental health concerns with schizophrenia or severe manic depressive types. The fact is, we are all suffering with some form of mental illness.
If you are too happy, the doctors will say you are “manic”. If you are too grumpy, they will say you have “type A” personality. If you are too sad, they will say you are suffering from severe “Depression”. It is much like going to a mechanic. If you talk long enough, they will find something wrong with you!
The truth is simple. Visiting a mental health counselor could result in you losing rights to your child, to your firearms, and your reputation as a person. It is a sad truth. Under our current system, most people do not seek help for fear of being demonized.
The top ways we can prevent mass shootings is by encouraging a friendly community, surround yourself with loving people, do your best to be involved parents, seek natural therapies to mental health disorders over drugs if possible (Sports, work therapy, etc..). If you are hearing voices or are frequently attempting to complete your suicide, then you should certainly seek medical intention.
Requiring mental health screenings to purchase firearms sounds like a great idea until you realize that most don’t seek help so that they can purchase a firearm! Why not screen people’s health condition before they purchase alcohol, get a driver’s license, or board a plane? Mental health can make nearly any activity dangerous. Our country must stop looking for “quick” fixes and start looking at the true cause of our demise.
Our fast-food, sex-violence, entertainment, glorification of misunderstand anarchism. There is “freedom” and then there is “responsible” freedom. Make choices in life, however, make those choices in respect of how it will affect your society at large. Legislators cannot solve these issues. These issues are ones that will require families to step up, unite, and take back the reign of traditional values without going overboard.
A middle ground between progressive thought and traditional values must be balanced. We mustn’t be afraid to advance our society, but we must also not totally disregard traditional ways of living which have served our humanity for so long.
Lastly, we must encourage more anonymity within our mental health departments. Must like the “confessionals” at a Catholic church. If people can be anonymously treated without so much of a paper-trail to stigmatize them, I am sure that many more people would step forward and ask for help.
As a boxing coach, this job often requires me to be a counselor, talking with my students, building up their confidence. If you are depressed and need help, but do not trust or fear doctors, a great alternative in my opinion is to stay active in group settings. Building relationships are essential in combating mental illness. In poor countries, suicide rates are often low because their communities are so tight knit. They may be poor, but no one is as lonely as the isolated modern man who types away in his cold artificially lit office cubicle.