I work in the ER department of a large hospital. What I’m experiencing is that American society as a whole is becoming more mentally unstable every year. I have been around hospitals now as a student and doctor for ten years, and it is getting worse.
My observations over the last ten years are backed up by mountains of statistics. On the National Alliance on Mental Illness website, they state that ‘mental illness impacts the lives of at least 1 in 4 adults and 1 in 10 children—or 60 million Americans’.
Even though the numbers of those affected by mental illness are growing, there don’t seem to be any practical solutions to it. Honestly, it seems to me that we will soon have as many mentally ill people as we have people who aren’t, and isn’t that is an incredibly scary thought?
The problem also is that so many mentally ill people go on living their lives with little or no help until they are so ‘sick’ we have to take them out of society altogether.
People come through our doors of emergency every day that all need to be patched up physically in one way or another – however, so many of them need mental healthcare. But we as physicians can’t give the psychological help that is required, and as a result, they go back to society in the same mental state.
I was a member of Greenpeace during my early university days, and I still take pride in helping to conserve this planet. But from where I sit, the health of the human race is in a much more severe condition than the state of the natural environment.
My bottom line is that humans are depressed and becoming more so. Teenagers and young adults are extremely angry and becoming more so (as evidenced every weekend in ER). We as doctors are trained on how to patch people up physically/superficially, but we are ill-equipped to deal with the underlying mental problems that are now effecting so many people in our community. Cancer seems to me (in my humble opinion anyway) to be a tiny problem in comparison to the mental health and unhappiness that is coming through the front doors of the hospital every day. I hope that we can make advances in the prevention and cure for mental illness as time for our minds is running out.