America's Mental Health Status the Quiet Family Assassin

Over the past twenty years I have been able to help shape human service public policy for hundreds of thousands of families and concurrently working directly to provide services for thousands of families. During that time several challenges consistently raised their head as destructive family stabilization elements. Unfortunately these were not some undiscovered challenges that needed exploration to determine a proper course of action, rather they were age old problems that have been studied for decades if not centuries but we lacked and lack a proper course of action to engage people and hold others as well as ourselves accountable.

After reviewing problems such as functional education levels, the incarceration rate, juvenile behavior and delinquency, and domestic violence and mental health disorders, after reviewing these one may find other provocative topics for inclusion, however, many other identifiable challenges would be extensions of connective tissues to these social and behavioral problems above. These 5 challenges presented the most formidable root enemies to a number of my families. I call them root enemies because their offspring take on varying forms and dimensions.

The lack of a livable income status is directly attributed to educational attainment from literacy rates to technical training capacity, domestic violence, births; both passive and aggressive generational behavioral curses, which causes son's to mirror father's and daughters to mirror mothers. But one of the most lethal and silent family killers is that of mental health disorders, I say it is silent because families will live with mental health disorders with out seeking external assistance often times this is, because they have rationalized the behavior of the person and allowed those behaviors to become an acceptable practice in short these people have become co-dependent on one another.

Instead of challenging these behaviors and disorders with professional assistance so that person can exude control over their behaviors and themselves before something unthinkable happens, instead we accept them for years on end, with statements like "that is just how he is … or she is simply having another bad day ". If he / she has 27 bad days out of 31 there may be a pattern that needs to be examined by trained professional.

According to Mental Health America, an estimated 54 million people in America have some form of mental illness or disorder annually. The United States census tracker reports that as of July 11, 2011, 311,741,488 people live in America. That means approximately 18% of the men, women, boys and girls are suffering from some form of mental health issues.

Many if not most of these people are connected to families that either provide some form of support or provide a blind eye to many of the needs presented by their family members. In fairness many family members are not prepared or trained to assess mental health status, for example certain cultures or groups do not acknowledge depression as a viable option for the behavior of individuals. A depressed individual may lay around the house all day and night with the lights off and may or may not abuse a substance (ie marijuana and alcohol etc), but family members will say he / she just needs a job or he / she is going through a phase.

True, he / she probably does need a job but more than likely these family members also need to seek assistance in dealing with mental issues as the issues have begun to affect the victim's behavior. defines depression as a psychological disorder that affects a person's mood changes, physical functions, and social interactions. Depression symptoms vary greatly from person to person as well as do the causes. As a result, treatment protocols are varied and depend on the fundamental philosophy of each medical or psychological professional. It is very important to find help that is based on a sound understanding of all the issues involved in the often times complicated topic of depression.

Susan Ashby a Family Educator for the National Alliance of Mental Illness states that "ignoring mental illness is very expensive and that the cost of untreated mental illness is over a hundred billion dollars each year in the United States. By ignoring these issues they tend to manifests itself by burdening law enforcement, inability to maintain employment, strain on legal and jail system and stresses on local crisis facilities. More families have been destroyed quietly by not understanding or not having the wife, husband, child, or grandparent diagnosed to receive the proper treatment necessary to adequately perform within a functioning family unit. Many times we believe we are avoiding a stigma by not seeking the proper assistance in dealing with mental health issues, however we do so at great peril to our families and ultimately to our loved ones. The only true stigma of any real importance is that of being another casualty of family dysfunction and obliteration. The Quiet Assassin grows stronger daily by family members and loved one's ignoring the behaviors and metaphorical weapons of family destruction!