Mental health should be priority 1

A year ago today was that terrible day in which 20 children and six adults were killed in Newtown, Conn. My heart aches for the families who lost loved ones. I haven’t read much about the anniversary, in large part because in what I did read, the families and community mainly expressed a wish to be left alone. This day isn’t that different from any other day in 2013. There’s still a void that can’t be filled. There are still children who don’t need tucking in at night.

What I’m thinking about today is our nation’s response. Have we haven’t made any progress on banning assault weapons? No. Have we put an emphasis on getting people the mental health care they need? No. What did we accomplish? Some companies made bulletproof white boards and backpacks (only $235!) that could be used as shields, assuming the backpack isn’t in a locker and the gunman can’t walk to the other side of a potential victim.

I shake my head at the stupidity of it all.

It’s no secret that I’m pro-mental health care. There’s such a stigma, but there’s really no shame in saying, “hey, this isn’t working for me. Someone please take a look under the hood and tell me what I’m doing wrong.”

We do it all the time in other situations.

  • Hey, my back hurts when I take barre class. What am I doing wrong?
  • I get dizzy when I don’t eat often. Why?
  • I can’t get power when I swing the bat. How do I change that?
  • All my reports get rewritten. What should I be doing?

How is that any different from asking:

  • Why can’t I make friends?
  • Why can’t I hold a job?
  • Why do I feel the need to drink alcohol?
  • Why do I fantasize about hurting people?
  • Why don’t I feel confident in my abilities?

I believe we should treat mental health the same way we do physical health. And if you don’t have your health, what do you have?

Published by Candace

I’m a journalist, nutritionist, doting auntie, one-time bobsledder, and wannabe health nut (who loves chocolate and pizza too much to fully commit). I don't want you to think my life is perfect. It's not.

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