THE IMPORTANCE OF MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS

Hilbert Morales | EL OBSERVADOR
Photo Credit: Unsplash

My daughter Mary suggested that this nation needed to discuss mental health during this month of September which happens to be Mental Health Awareness Month. Closely coupled with mental health is the fact that suicide prevention is the second leading cause of death amongst youthful folks, ages 10 to 26. In addition, our community recently experienced its first mass shooting at Gilroy.

San Jose’s Mayor Sam Liccardo stated that this nation has 390 million firearms in its communities. This existing reservoir makes a handgun (or other firearm) easily available to any individual with the impulse to shoot another individual or commit suicide.

Suicides would be sharply curtailed if each of us made it a point to talk to a friend, acquaintance or neighbor occasionally. Caring human inter-relationships and friendships are the best way to prevent suicide. The family unit is the basic supportive infrastructure which transfers values, traditions, and resources which are essential to nurturing practices which transfer information and feelings from one individual to another.

It is here that parental and sibling relationships are learned and practiced first. There are traditions and social contacts that occur in the business community. Basic to all these inter-relationships is communication as a very essential skill that each and every one of us must practice.

The recent mass shootings at Gilroy, CA; El Paso, TX; Midland, TX and Odessa, TX were all undertaken by individuals who may be characterized as follows: White Anglo-Saxon Male, age 18 to 30, each very angry and disturbed about something; each decided to express (release) that anger by shooting someone and/or a certain targeted group.

In one case, the perpetrator decided to drive hundreds of miles to enable targeting Mexican American individuals. Definitely a very racist white superiority expression of that individuals basic core personal values.

What did a Mexican American do to merit this? This may be the consequence of values and attitudes learned from parents who were prejudicial biased bigots in the home. This may indicate a prejudicial perspective that those individuals just immigrated from Mexico when historical fact conveys the reality that in South-Western America, the residents were citizens of Mexico who became citizens of America after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo agreement was signed (1846).

A reality is that history documents the migration of Northern Europeans (Anglo-Saxons) who just took over land ownership (land formerly owned by tribes and communities rather than individuals who had been awarded title to the lands by European Royalty. It is time to realize that the best lands were simply taken away from tribal communities which did not have recorded titles but had resided on those lands for lengthy historical times.

All this created much mental health stress which was the basis of stratification of our American society. Native Americans were sequestered in reservations to get them off their tribal lands which were then parceled out as farmlands owned by aggressive and assertive Whites. This is the basis for a certain level of mental health stress which was carried forward from one generation to the next.

In one recent case, the perpetrator had just been fired so he went home to get his weapons; and then went out to begin killing whoever happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. His was not a mental health issue. Rather his anger motivated the killing of others as an outcome of deranged mental processes.

In each and every case recently, the perpetrator (shooter) was an angry WASP male who decided to express his anger by shooting someone.

And having access to a military high-performance weapon, such as an AK-15 military rifle, each perpetrator was able to kill at least 20 victims during the first 40 seconds of active shooting.

This simple functional feature is why any and all military high-performance rifles must be licensed, and their owners must become licensed, so the community knows where these weapons exist and who owns them.

Where do these deranged individuals get the notion that killing others will help resolve the issue troubling them? Could it be all those video games wherein one shoots to kill the enemy? Recall that Japan has many youths playing video games wherein one shoots to kill, and as a nation of 130 million residents experiences less than 10-gun shootings per year!

In contrast, here in America, our national community experiences almost 40,000-gun killings per year and about 30,000 suicides per year (all fatal gun shootings of oneself).

Most certainly, mental health issues which impact personal temperament are involved. And most assuredly, perpetrators of shootings have lost their self-control and especially their sense of civil behavior which does no harm to others. In several cases, white supremacist ideology was the basis of the action taken (the shooting of an unarmed American Black youth who was a pedestrian in a white neighborhood (a case in Florida wherein the perpetrator (shooter) was acquitted by a jury based upon Florida’s Stand your Ground laws recently enacted into law.

The current sitting President often speaks in pejorative racist terms – and acts them out, all of which have encouraged those biased, prejudiced and bigoted elements of our community to come out of the shadows. Prior to this current sitting President, these individuals kept their thoughts to themselves.

Today, since they have a President who openly is racist; this element of our society feels they have received permission to come out into the open with their biases, bigotries, prejudiced laced racism. Unfortunately, this sort of public behavior is not what our youth need to see and emulate. As a people we must consistently keep in mind that our youth learn from adults by what they see us do, say, and act out.

The MENTAL HEALTH of our community is always on display and always seen by our vigilant youth.

If we are to have a civil society wherein each of us treats others with respect, acceptance and dignity, then we collectively need to always practice the discipline which displays those sentiments.

The result is the mitigation of inter-relationship stress which improves our collective mental health.

We feel very good when we practice those habits and express values which establish peace, security and safety in our homes and communities. Our Mental Health is always on display. Each of us must resolve to be disciplined enough to establish those environments of safety and security which enable us to enjoy the pleasures of life anywhere, especially at home, with our friends in the community and where we work.

We must understand that by sharing resources, discussing issues, and making the effort to be involved in this diverse community, we have the capability of establishment of excellent mental health levels throughout. Let’s resolve to do what it takes to have that sort of positive ambiance. Become aware of Mental Health in yourself and others. That is what is required.

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