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mental health

Silhouette on a mountain at sunset

Many of us may be surprised to learn that climate change can have profound effects on our mental health.

Lizzie Stein
mental illness, silhouette of head made by threadds

When my younger brother was about eleven, he decided he did not believe in God.

Bailey Roos

The beginning of the program year is always an exciting time at the RAC, as we begin a new cycle of tikkun olam work.

Sarah Greenberg

An important way we can support those living with mental illness is to change the scope of the conversation around these issues from private to communal.

Tyler Dratch

2015 was a year of major milestones in the campaign against the death penalty in the United States.

Adam Waters

By Elise Glaser

With the correct resources and aid, those suffering from mental illness can find a way to a cure, or a way to effectively manage their illness. I watched my brother climb out of a deep addiction after years of rehab, sober living, Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous and therapy. Only with my parents’ health insurance was this possible and was his stability secured. I have many friends who have found their way out of depression, anxiety, eating disorders and obsessive compulsive disorder with the right medication and treatment. However, these treatments were always accessible by their families’ income and insurance. Throughout these rehabilitation processes, there was little help or guidance from the government, putting the majority of the stress on the concerned family members.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness of mental illnesses and the importance of mental wellness for all.  In our own country, an estimated 18.6 percent or 43.7 million Americans live with mental illnesses, and 4.1% or 9.6 million U.S. adults have a serious mental illness. Whether or not we have personally experienced a mental illness, no family or community is immune.

Sunday  marked the two-year anniversary of the Sandy Hook shooting, where a gunman murdered twenty children and six educators at Sandy Hook elementary school. Leading up to the two-year anniversary, agencies were working to set up a support system for the next 12 to 15 years for people impacted by the shooting, with mental health officials reporting many people reporting “substance abuse, relationship troubles, disorganization, depression, overthinking or inability to sleep” following the shooting. Thankfully, tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting don’t happen very often; unfortunately, however, mental illness is experienced by millions every year.

Newtown. Aurora. Tucson. These three shootings, at an elementary school in Connecticut, at a movie theater in Colorado and at a constituent meeting in Arizona, are just a few examples of the mass shootings that have captured the media’s attention in the past few years. While the shootings have sparked discussions on gun violence in this country, they have also led to conversations about the intersection of gun violence prevention and mental illness. In each of these cases, mental illness was at one point or another discussed as a potential cause of the violent crimes committed in these three towns. Whether the shooters in these attacks were mentally ill or not does not impact the importance of keeping guns out of the hands of people with mental illness. Moreover, the focus on gun violence and mental health can be limiting.