By Rev. Paul N. Papas II
2 May 2011
One Down And More To Go
We are happy that our Intelligence and Military stayed true to the goal of finding and bringing to justice the one man who changed the world forever with his terror. This is one goal accomplished in winning a huge battle in the war against terrorism.
We as a people have many goals to reach to make this world a better place. For a long time before medical science matured people thought that people who had a medical condition of a mental illness were demon possessed. We now know it is a medical condition that can be treated just as a broken bone can be treated.
Our youth today are our leaders of tomorrow. We need to make sure that we raise them well. Providing our children with proper guidance, proper nourishment, and proper values will put our future in good hands.
If we know that something is wrong and we know how to correct it, then we have a duty to make the correction.
Let’s use the same resolve we showed in bringing Osama Ben Laden to justice in helping our youth grow up healthy and with good values.
Parents who dropped their children off at a nursery school in a well known city discovered something new – a wire fence dividing the playground in two. There is a sandbox on one side and a slide on the other. The children used to play on either of them but now they will be limited. The nursery school is in a neighborhood that is divided between conservative and liberal people of the same religion. The nursery school is divided the same way with one half of the building used by each group. The playground used to be shared and the children all played together during recess, but one group requested the wire fence so that their children would not mingle with the other group’s children. Some parents say there is a simple solution and that would be to kick out the other group so they can have the nursery school all to themselves.
I don’t think the group requesting the fence or dividing the building had the right idea. I think the idea of the physical fence was nothing more than at outward expression of their inner feelings. People in general have been known to put up walls or fences around themselves blocking certain people out.
When President Ronald Reagan told Mr. Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, he knew he was telling the Russian leader to free the people of East Berlin. Walls tend to enslave and isolate. The West Berlin Mayor called it a “Wall of Shame”. Healthy people know there are certain boundaries that need to be respected, they don’t need walls.
This week is Children’s Mental Health Week from May 1st through the 7th. This does not have to be a budget buster.
We do know that: More children are affected by mental health problems than from all childhood disorders combined (World Health Organization);
1 in 5 children and adolescents (20%) have a diagnosable disorder, yet only two-thirds of them are getting the help they need (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services);As many as 1 in 10 young people may have an anxiety disorder, making it the most common mental health problem that children face (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services);Suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds and the sixth leading cause of death for 5-15 year olds (American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry);By 2020, mental and behavioral health disorders are projected to become one of the top five causes of mortality, morbidity and disability among children (U.S. Health & Human Services, 1999).
We also know: Forty-one percent of families report that mental health services make a difference (Overcoming Barriers);Twenty-four percent of families find the most valued resource to be another parent with lived experience (Overcoming Barriers);Healthy children are able to cope with challenges, relate to others and succeed in school (U.S. Surgeon General);
Healthy children have hope.
Much of the problem with a medical condition of a mental illness is stigma.
What is your first reaction to hearing that someone has a mental illness?
Would you embrace the person or run the other way?
Would you have the same reaction if the same person broke his leg skiing?
It is time to tear down the wall of shame around the medical condition of a mental illness. Say NO to Stigma.
Rev. Paul N. Papas II is a Pastoral Counselor with Narrow Path Ministries (MA and AZ) and Founder of the Family Renewal Center (AZ). http://www.narrowpathministries.org and http://www.familyrenewalcenteraz.org