x

Find the Right Therapist

Find the Right Therapist

Advanced Search | Don't show me this again.

Call Us to Find a Therapist: 1-888-563-2112 ext.1

Find a Therapist on Your Own:

 

Newtown Tragedy Brings Mental Health into the Spotlight

Bullets sitting on money
 

The events in Newtown, Connecticut, 15 minutes away from me, were tragic. They affected us all … in this area and all over the world. People are pushing to keep it from happening again. Some are sure the cause is guns. Some are sure it’s the media. Some are blaming movies and video games. And some are putting mental health on the front burner.

In my mind and heart, bringing mental health into the spotlight has the potential to help in our country (and the world over). My concern is that what is done with this potential—whether it is fulfilled or undermined—will depend on how the “theme” of mental illness is understood, how it is used, and what solutions are put forth.

In my book, Power Abused, Power Healed, I explain that “every form of power can be used well or misused.” I have been concerned, way before the Newtown tragedy, that power has been widely misused and abused in relation to mental health. By insurance companies. By pharmaceutical companies. By diagnostic manuals. At times by medical doctors, including some psychiatrists. At times by too many psychotherapists who need to be doing their own healing work in relation to the power they have as psychotherapists. At times by powerful leaders and media members. By the stigma that is still connected with needing help for our wounds. And by everyday citizens who don’t really understand what mental health is.

All of these are of great concern to me now. The aftermath of the Newtown tragedy is fertile ground for the misuse and abuse of “mental health.” But I am especially concerned about the part of it that I can help do something about and that together we can help do something about … truly educate people about mental health.

The essence of the education needed is this: Mental health is far more than what thoughts, feelings, and behaviors we can control. Being mentally healthy is far more than just functioning … or functioning well according to some “standard.” Mental and emotional health depends on our having built the capacity to feel our feelings and not act out on them. It also depends on knowing ourselves well enough to know that violence lives within each of us, whether we are deemed mentally unhealthy or not, whether we consider ourselves violent or not, whether we act on it or not. We need to learn, each of us, that whatever violence lives within us feeds the violence in the world, feeds the violence that is acted out in our world. And that if we don’t discover that and work to heal it to the root within ourselves, we are misusing and abusing our own mental health and that of others—that of our families, that of our workplaces, that of our communities, our society, and our world.

There are those among us who would capitalize on the violence within us—those who make money on violence and the fear, anger, pain, and other feelings it causes. Those who make money on the “weapons” of violence. Those who profit from our “just functioning”—like automatons—and no more. But none of us really profits from our remaining ignorant of what lies within our own psyches that affects us and everyone else.

There is so much more that I have already said about this … that I can say about this … that needs to be said about this … and that I will say about this. But for now, what I want my clients to know—and everyone else as well—is this: Now that the spotlight is on mental health, it is our responsibility to help fulfill the positive potential that is here. It is the responsibility of each and every one of us. It is in our hands and hearts … yours and mine.

© Copyright 2013 by Judith Barr, MS, LMHC, therapist in Brookfield, Connecticut. All Rights Reserved.

Sign up for the GoodTherapy.org Newsletter!
Get weekly mental health and wellness news and information sent straight to your inbox!

  • Find the Right Therapist
  • Join GoodTherapy.org - Therapist Only
Leave a Reply

By commenting you acknowledge acceptance of GoodTherapy.org's Terms and Conditions of Use.

 

 

 

* = Required fields

Find the Right Therapist

Advanced Search | Browse Locations

Title Content Author
GoodTherapy.org is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment, or therapy. Always seek the advice of your physician or qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice nor delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on GoodTherapy.org.

Recent Comments

  • jess: I would imagine that he wishes that he had the chance to do this out of the spotlight and that his family would prefer that as well.
  • Christine: It’s not for everyone Margie. Some people really can’t handle it and can’t make it work. For others, such as myself,...
  • Brenda: I was heart broken after I found out my spouse was texting and phoning someone behind my back but once I confronted him he said she was...
  • Bess: I am currently separated from my husband. He was verbally abusive to my boys and me. My sons are 18 and 20 and have stopped communicating...
  • Steven: My wife and I shared a girlfriend for most of our 40 year marriage. We were a sexually faithful triad so there were never any issues of...