It’s Time We Pay More Attention to Mental Health in the U.S.

Nothing happens in a vacuum and with the Virginia shooting of two journalists, as in many other shootings, the shooter has all but taken out an ad, telling people he’s in trouble and has problems. Whether it was what he wrote on Facebook, or the now-we-know reportedly unfounded complaints he made at work, or simply from things his colleagues and friends have said about him, this man was a ticking time-bomb just waiting to go off. How many times do we need to be told that we must pay more attention to mental health in our country?

The reason we are mesmerized by events such as this is because we’re social animals who learn through imitation, and we become voyeurs when we see something breakdown in our society that we have no control over… especially in this 24/7 news cycle, where local news has become national news. We always look to the weapon a person uses, but we need to look at the person who’s using the weapon. If a person has cancer, we would understand that he needs medical attention, and that medical attention would have no negative connotation. On the other hand, when someone has mental problems, there is still a cloud of negativity, embarrassment, or shame attached.

At the end of the day, we have to get serious about the mental issues facing us in our very high-pitched and stressful world. Media and social media make reality TV out of every catastrophic event and just like reality TV, people use the media as a platform to give them satisfaction, by lowering their anxiety and allowing them to reach for that one moment of fame.