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It’s time that we as a society recognize the grave deficiencies in our government’s attempts to provide adequate healthcare for people suffering with mental illness.
I am by no means excusing the horrific acts of hatred and violence that happened in Orlando.
I do believe that we need to focus on the root of the problem and address the stigma around mental illnesses of all types. I’m certainly not saying that all of those who suffer (many of them in silence) with mental illness are dangerous, but there is an intolerable lack of resources for those who are afflicted.
In South Florida in particular, it seems there are drug treatment centers every few blocks – but where are the mental health treatment centers?
People consumed by fear, hatred, and intolerance are susceptible to radical ideologies and need help and education before it’s too late. This should start in our K-12 school system with a frank and open discussion between teachers, parents and students about reducing the stigma directed at those who suffer with emotional and mental illness while watching for signs of impending instability and susceptibility.
We as a society have no choice but to change our current trajectory and embrace those who suffer from emotional as well as physical pain.
Mental health issues are not going to go away by turning a blind eye. Instead, we need to open our eyes to the suffering of our fellow human beings and do what we can, even if it’s just to lend a listening ear or bear witness to their tears.
Rachel Heather Margolis is a new member of Painted Brain. This is her first contribution to Painted Brain News.