Why Is Our Mental Health in Crisis? It’s The White Patriarchy, Stupid
Our mental health crisis is more acute than in other high-income countries — and more therapists, drugs, or guns won’t solve it
We are not well.
We are anxious, we are angry, we are depressed. We are teetering on the brink. We are emotionally agitated, mentally distressed.
Everything is on the rise: Road rage, substance use, mass shootings. A paramedic writes in The New York Times, “I’ve never witnessed a mental health crisis like this one.”
He’s in the thick of it, but even us “ordinary” folks see evidence everywhere that we are losing it. News stories — the really outrageous ones — used to happen “over there.” Now everything is closing in.
A young woman who lived across the street from us was shot by a white supremacist at a Black Lives Matter protest. She is quadriplegic now, bound to a wheelchair for life.
A family who lives two doors down got stuck in traffic on a freeway, and a man with a gun attempted to take them hostage. They escaped on foot, clutching their toddler and newborn baby in their arms.
My elderly neighbor next door was attacked by his grown son, who struggles with addiction. I saw my neighbor sitting on his front stoop talking to the paramedics, his face bloodied and bruised.
Recently, a frightening mental health incident unfolded in my own home. I hastily piled my kids in the car, and we spent the night in a hotel.
All of this has happened within the last 18 months. All this, along with the “smaller” things. There was the man who hurled a wine bottle against a wall at the grocery store, narrowly missing a few of his fellow shoppers. There were the dozens of near-car accidents, the drivers zipping in and out of lanes, nudging up against my rear bumper. There was the screaming TSA agent who chased down an airline passenger. And then there are the signs posted in the windows of an apartment complex a few blocks from my house.
The signs say in red block letters:
ARMED TENANTS. STEAL GAS, GET SHOT.