AMERICA’S MENTAL HEALTH THREATENED
The entries in this blog are about psychology. I have to confess, however, that many current political events make me want to apply psychological coping principles to them. I mean let’s face it, the Tweeter-in-Chief is a psychological gold mine! Still, I try to resist because I don’t want to drift into partisan political discussions.
A recent conversation with a friend who works in the mental health field, however, is causing me to rethink my position about politics and psychological coping. My friend mentioned that conversations with her colleagues — counselors, psychologists, social workers, psychiatrists, etc., — reveal a disturbing trend. The professionals are finding a mushrooming of anxiety-based problems that are driving more folks to therapy and to psychiatric medication. International pressures, health insurance, suspicious shenanigans of a partisan election fraud committee, the emotional stability of our leadership…….these and other issues are weighing heavily on a growing number of people.
Worse yet, as the anxiety infects more and more on a daily basis, professionals find their clients are beginning to disengage, give up, and withdraw. Any undergraduate student of psychology, and readers of our blog entries, will recognize that this sequence of fear, learned helplessness, and withdrawal inevitably leads to serious psychological consequences, notably depression.
Should this psychological descent into despair and depression continue to expand at a national level, we will have a serious problem. Not only will our fellow citizens be troubled with personal crises, but they will also become more vulnerable to messages from powerful others who tell them, “I have the answer.” They will succumb to the most convincing propaganda, and our government of checks and balances bound by Constitutional laws could be damaged.
We’re not really talking partisan politics here, folks. That has been a reality since the days of Adams and Jefferson and the other Founders. No, we’re talking about facing up to, coping with, pressures being put in place to sow psychological distress in the populace and make people more malleable.
You might wonder, “If this psychological undermining is so manifest, why aren’t the TV ‘talking heads’ and others talking about it?” Good question! All I can say is, as events continue to unfold I will more readily offer possible psychological explanations for what is going on, in the hopes of giving readers specific coping possibilities to combat tendencies to feel helplessness and to refuse to withdraw from it all. Many of our previous blog entries, of course, provide such coping suggestions.
There is absolutely no reason, psychologically speaking, that any of us cannot find appropriate coping actions to determine the aspects of any situation that we can control, and develop actions to effect change. That may be our new challenge at a national level. I bet many of you have some suggestions to make along these lines.
2 thoughts on “”
The best suggestion I can think of is to always try to focus on the positive and ignore the negative. Do not give into the negativity. This is not always easy, especially when it’s coming at you from all directions.
The best example I can think of is the award recently given to Michael Vick. Many of my animal rights activist friends were sending around the article about his award and how disgusted they were. Well rather than share the negative feelings, why not circulate an article about the dogs that were saved, and how they are doing today and the people who made their lives better. There is always a positive spin!
What an excellent observation and suggestion. There’s no doubt that optimism and looking on the sunny side can be a great boost to coping. It’s important to remember, however, that our optimism must be grounded in reality. Optimism not so grounded boils down to denial, which fosters avoidance, the great enemy of effective coping. We must, therefore, guard against being a Pollyanna when confronted with coping demands.