It’s awful that it takes a horrific situation like what just happened in Florida for topics like this to take center stage, but even when we do focus on them, our governments miss the target and get it wrong. This post is NOT a political one taking sides. All sides/parties are complicit in this, including the media.
There is no doubt gun policy is a factor we must discuss, there is no doubt that in some cases, motives and ideology play a big role. However, when awful events like this occur, our government’s and our media’s immediate reaction is to assign blame to laws or lack thereof, or to search for some motive to pin on the individual or group so that we can find “reason” and “closure” and pass off the hard work needed to fix one of the core issues in our system.
When are we going to wake up and realize we have a mental health crisis underlying much of this? I don’t want to get this confused with my saying that we have an issue with – “people who are mentally ill” being more likely to these actions. For one, I’m not a fan of the term “mental illness” – as I think it divides us and places labels and lines between us. But also, it doesn’t accurately communicate the fact that mental HEALTH is something we can and should all be working on…and that it’s a big part of what can cause us issues when we don’t address it. There is too much we deal with in this life, starting at a very young age, not to directly talk about it, nor have programs for it. The paltry amount of resources dedicated to mental health education and prevention has got to change. Additionally, we have no consistency in the terminology being used (I’m appalled by how our government’s leaders and media members refer to these complications w/o any regard for how they are just furthering the stigmas that are getting us in many of these situations in the first place).
I just notified our Alliance Members that we will be formally launching our website and resources within the next 24 hours. It’ll take a while to get out there but it’s going to take alliances of advocates with large platforms, and consistent messages about treatments that work for us, to reverse this all – because our governments/media outlets (all parties involved) just aren’t doing it.