What’s Wrong With This Picture?

We hear a lot of talk these days about the need to keep guns out of the hands of mentally disturbed people (unless they happen to be members of Congress). According to statistics available from the National Institute of Mental Health, this could be a herculean task.

NIMH says that “one in four adults–approximately 57.7 million Americans–experience a mental health disorder in a given year.” Wow!

But before we get too downhearted about that, the U.S. Dept. of Labor reports that there are 552,000 mental health professionals to handle this–psychiatrists and psychologists, sex therapists, grief counselors, etc.

Which raises a question:

With over half a million mental health pros on tap, probably the largest number of them in all of human history, how come so many of us seem to have come unglued?

If you had a town full of exterminators, you wouldn’t expect that town to have a major termite problem, would you?

13 comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture?

  1. What’s wrong with this picture? Well, everything. As you wrote in another article published today, the devil is running the show, and God’s people
    need to take back the territory, following Jesus’ authorization to trample on serpents, scorpions and ALL the power of the enemy. Up to now, the whole Body of Christ is derelict in its duty.

  2. Well, the other point, Lee, is: how does anyone know with such a large proportion of mentally-ill citizens, and such a huge number of M.H. professionals, that several of those are not part of the unstable population? What if the unstable among those professionals are the ones establishing the standards for mental health/stability? Hm.

    1. I think we’ve all heard the cliche about psychiatrists being as crazy as their patients. As my old friend used to say, cliches don’t grow on trees.

      BTW, are you from St. Catherine’s? If so, do you know my friends Robert and Eva Jason?

  3. I see a problem here-well, several. First of all, it seems that most of those who decide to become counselors come from a group of people who, themselves haven’t discovered how to handle life themselves. If one cannot solve ones own problem, how….? You finish the question. Another big thing, actually, the biggest, is the use of the wrong hand book. If you are going to repair a Ford, would you use a washing machine instructions book? And yet, these folks never dream of using the hand book designed by the creator of mankind. No, they just go on bungling the problems. I once read some statitics that showed those who don’t get “counselling” do even better at recovery than those who do!

    By the way, the really astoundingly good changes that occur when rotten sinners (like me!) do great turn-abouts when the messages from the Bible are applied prove something about the effectiveness of its usage. I think I’ll stick with something that’s been proven to be successful. How about you?

  4. I know that all of the termites are located on Pennsylvainia Ave in D.C…what we need is a big can of RAID!!!

  5. If you put anything under abnormal stresses, it will cause problems. For example, if you were to take your car to a NASCAR track and drive around it at the highest speed you car can attain, it would probably overheat fairly quickly, not to mention that your tires would get very hot and wear more quickly, but that doesn’t mean your car has a problem; it means that you are using is in a manner which over stresses it.

    People are over stressed. Read the news and see all the unjust and wicked things happening around the world and you will be exposing yourself to stress. Deal with the ridiculous maze of regulations in place today and you are exposing yourself to stress. Place enough stress on your psyche and you are going to, metaphorically speaking, overheat and suffer abnormal emotional wear and tear.

    Learning to cope with problems and to see things philosophically is a learned skill. Some people never learn these skills and can suffer as a result. In such cases, a psychologist may be able to help, because psychologists teach people to analyze their feelings instead of simply reacting to emotional discomfort. As a rule, a psychologist is not able to solve problems or cure mental illness, but they can help someone to deal with problems in a more productive manner.

    Now there are people with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, which are treated with medications and, perhaps, talk therapy. There are also problems, such as OCD, which respond well to certain behavioral therapies. However, I doubt highly that 57.7 million Americans suffer from such diseases in a given year. It is, however, my opinion that the stresses of modern life probably only serve to make things worse for people with serious mental illnesses. While a reduction in stress would no necessarily “cure” them, it might allow them to lead a more normal existence.

    Of course all of the above employs human reasoning as its standard. The role of sin and imperfection is not likely to enter the discussion when speaking to a M.H. professional, in part because professional standards call for treatment to be provided without regard for religion, etc. If you have an infected toenail your doctor isn’t going to ask whether or not you are Buddhist.

    When all is said and done, the root is our sinful, imperfect state. We life in a world which is ruled by illogic and hatred. How can we even claim to know where or when some mentally ill person might strike. Look at the shooting of Rep Scalise. Everything I’ve read about the shooter would suggest to me that he was unstable. He may have started out, years ago, with good intentions, but got wrapped up in the rhetoric until he simply could no longer see the forest for the trees and sank into a paranoic delusion.

    IMO, even if 100% of the country were M.H. professionals, our nation would be far from immune. M.H. professionals may have an advantage in being able to analyze their own behavior, but even these can become caught in the rhetoric and start to see things in a very slanted manner. Once someone is caught up in a flimsy belief system they can develop mental health problems quite readily.

    My belief system: FWIW. The world around me and life is too complicated to have happened spontaneously. I feel that there has to be planning and careful execution in order for things to exist as they do.

    The Bible offers an explanation of creation and mankind’s problems which makes a great deal of sense. Besides that, it is a prophetically accurate book predicting the reestablishment of the nation of Israel and in my lifetime I have personally seen evidence of extraordinary protection over Israel. The Bible also provides sound counsel and wisdom, such as providing a moral framework which promotes health, happiness, strong families and strong communities.

    For the above reasons, along with many other examples, too numerous to cite, I feel that the Bible is of superhuman origin, and I endeavor to follow its guidelines in my day to day life. I also turn to the Bible for information with regard to how problems facing mankind will be resolved. Based on the Bible, I believe that our Creator will intervene in mankind’s affairs and end the wickedness which causes so many problems for people worldwide. By living my faith and standing up (verbally) for my beliefs, I can do my part in supporting the Creator’s work in this matter. I am scripturally commanded to defend my faith with gentleness and reverence. This means that it would be wrong for me to ever impose my beliefs on anyone and certainly does not allow for violence of any sort.

    Now, all of this might seem like just another psychological ploy to get me through life, but there is one thing which lends credence to all of this. The events happening around the world are predicted in the Bible. The turmoil of our times was predicted in Jesus’ prophecies about the Second Coming. Israel being surrounded by enemies is predicted numerous times throughout scripture and the contention over Jerusalem is very clearly predicted in Zechariah, chapter 12. These examples convince me that my trust is not misplaced.

    1. The only thing you didn’t mention is that new “mental disorders” are being invented all the time, while old ones are reclassified as “lifestyle choices.” There are British scientists who think religious faith is a disorder–which they can treat by zapping your brain with ultra-powerful magnets. I blogged about that once, but right now don’t have time to track it down.

    2. You are 100% right about that. When it comes to defining mental disorders, the lunatics are literally running the asylum.

      If you have a mental disorder, it is designated as such in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) which is in every psychologist’s bookshelf. Supposedly, these definitions are based wholly upon observation and statistical analysis and a disease is defined by whether or not it interferes with one’s ability to function normally.

      Unfortunately, various factions have exerted pressure on the process in order to come up with results which suit their particular cause. One recent example is the reclassification of Asperger’s Syndrome as Autistic Spectrum Disorder. There are a lot more people with Asperger’s (which has been known and defined for over 70 years) than there are with classic (Rainman style) autism, so packaging these together means more research and money being spent on classic (Kanner’s) autism.

      The medical world has become more and more dominated by various financial interests over the decades. What should be purely scientific process has become politicized and the welfare of patients hangs in the balance. Insurance companies love to see prescription drugs become available over the counter, because then they don’t have to pay for them any longer. Drug companies love the see prescription drugs become available over the counter, because then they are likely to sell a lot more of that product.

      I can’t imagine that the mental health business operates any more ethically than this.

    3. Excellent analysis, Unknowable. The only thing I would add is that in the case of traditional mental illnesses, it could be we have more awareness because they have been displaced/made homeless since this nation saw fit to abolish most mental hospitals, leaving these poor souls to attempt to navigate a world that is impossible and mostly unfriendly to them.

      And, Lee, you make a great point too. Society has created many unbalanced people attempting to discover what ‘group’ they belong to – male, female or other.

    4. I don’t even begin to have an answer for some of this. Nearly forty years ago, an acquaintance had a family member whom had been committed to an institution after breaking a pool cue over someone’s head in a bar brawl. I had occasion to accompany them on a visit to the institution and was appalled by what I saw. Imagine dozens of people in bath slippers, robes and pajamas, walking around drugged, drinking one Coke after another and chain smoking. It makes my skin crawl to remember the sight, nearly forty years later.

      So what to do with these people? Warehouse them in institutions which serve merely to keep them under control, but do little in the way or effective treatment? Place them with relatives whose lives are thereafter disrupted by the endless needs of someone requiring continuous supervision and care? Or, let them fend for themselves ending up with them living on the streets? The last option is unacceptable, but the first two options aren’t much better.

    5. I would say more, but this afternoon my allergies are really killing me. I wasn’t expecting this attack today, but it’s picking up strength and I’m not having much fun with it.

    6. Indeed. I’ve had personal experience in this horrendous situation. My aunt, who was a registered nurse, worked for over 20 years in a state mental hospital with patients mostly consisting of children and young adults. They had no lasting solutions then, and they don’t today. Additionally, I visited a close relative who was temporarily involuntarily committed to the psychiatric ward of a local hospital and what I saw there was as you described. Horrendous and pitiful. These people are some of the most forgotten in our society. And in all cases, it’s as you describe. Extremely sad.

      But we also have those who became dysfunctional due to some external issue, such as war. We used to call it shell shock. Now we call any trauma induced issue PTSD, give people a pill and send them on their way, without real solutions and with not much hope. Many even wind up in prison where their lives become significantly more painful.

      I surely have no answers and I fear humanity (now there’s a contradiction in terms for you) has no answers either. It seems though that as evil increases, so does the mental health crisis and so does the anxiety and stress we live with day to day.

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