Mental Health Crisis

For everyone’s mental health, let’s act like adults and not like Donald Trump

Jordan Reid is the founding editor of Ramshackle Glam.
Liberal Opinion

Jordan Reid

Author; Founding Editor, Ramshackle Glam
Video Library |

America’s youth are in the midst of a mental health crisis, and adults must step up to fix the problem they’ve created. The surgeon general recently issued an advisory outlining the widespread mental health issues and placed the blame squarely on the messages that young people hear through the media and pop culture.

Our children are bombarded with adults screaming at school board meetings, politicians bullying and name calling, and one person, in particular, stigmatizing mental illness by linking it to gun violence.

Donald Trump: “We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence… Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”

So what is going on here with previously thoughtful, considerate grown men and women suddenly acting out and, you know, slinging punches, both verbal and physical. I thought about this and I realized that I actually recognize this behavior from when my own children were toddlers.  

And why do toddlers act out? Why do they throw temper tantrums or scream over seemingly small issues?  This, I think, is what’s at the core of this, this rage crisis facing Americans.

We’ve spent the past two years coming face-to-face with the reality of just how little control we have. We can’t control where we go. We can’t control who we see. We can’t control whether our children are in school. 

We’ve all of a sudden realized collectively just how fragile these lives that we’ve built are. They can be dismantled in seconds.

As the surgeon general said, our behavior “undermine(s) the safe and supportive environments young people need and deserve.” So what is the result? We are left with a mental health crisis where kids are struggling with anxiety and depression, hospitalizations for suicide attempts are skyrocketing, and people are afraid to ask for help for fear of ridicule. We must do better.

We are a nation in the throes of a significant mental health crisis. The evidence is everywhere. Fist fights on airplanes, screaming matches in school board meetings, employees in –  everywhere from election staffing sites to Costco saying, yes, things are much worse, now. 

The grownups, it appears, have left the building. Now I am a grownup, sort of, and I like to consider myself a relatively even-keeled person. I don’t punch walls when I’m angry. I don’t have road rage to speak of. 

When I have a disagreement with someone I tend to do, as I have taught my children to do, and I use my words, which brings me to a story about something that happened a little over a year ago that –  it doesn’t make me look good.

I was driving away from my small California town, with my two young children in the backseat. It was a few weeks before the 2020 election and my anxiety about whether Trump would win reelection was at this just fever pitch. 

I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop scrolling through my newsfeed. I was like, what if, what if, what if? 

And so, when I saw this caravan of trucks coming the opposite direction headed back towards my town with all the Trump 2020 flags, I just, I lost it. I stuck my hand out the window with my middle finger extended. And I screamed “F you” at this caravan of strangers. And I did this in front of my children. I’m laughing because it it’s like,  obviously I knew even as this was happening, that it wasn’t exactly a stellar parenting decision, but it felt uncontrollable. Like all of the anger and fear I had bubbling up inside me just had to burst out. And so many adults are acting this way nowadays. 

It it’s like we’re, we’re actively going against the things that we try to teach our children, be kind to each other, communicate with compassion, use your words and try not to let them be F-bombs. 

We are to put it mildly setting a bad example.

 Speaking of a bad example, it’s not just your average parent that’s losing their minds.

 Just as our nation struggles through an acute mental health crisis. We’re coming out of four long years in which the nation’s top officials and one in particular, actively mocked or disseminated misinformation about mental health. 

Here’s the former guy imitating a disabled reporter. 

Trump: “Written by a nice reporter, now the poor guy, you gotta see this guy, ahhh, I don’t know what I said, I don’t remember.

Lovely. And take a listen to this clip in which Trump blames gun violence on mental health issues, as opposed to, you know, our country’s wildly problematic gun policies. 

 Trump: “We must reform our mental health laws to better identify mentally disturbed individuals who may commit acts of violence… Mental illness and hatred pulls the trigger, not the gun.”

In reality, the majority of people with mental health problems do not engage in violence against others and are in fact more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators.

Another fact: only 5% of interpersonal violence can be attributed to mental health issues alone, which leaves other factors like say easy access to semiautomatic rifles to blame for the other 96%.

But back to our collective national breakdown. 

So what is going on here with previously thoughtful, considered grown men and women suddenly acting out and, you know, slinging punches, both verbal and physical. I thought about this and I realized that I actually recognize this behavior from when my own children were toddlers.  

And why do toddlers act out? Why do they throw temper tantrums or scream over seemingly small issues?  This, I think, is what’s at the core of this, this rage crisis facing Americans.

We’ve spent the past two years coming face-to-face with the reality of just how little control we have. We can’t control where we go. We can’t control who we see. We can’t control whether our children are in school. 

We’ve all of a sudden realized collectively just how fragile these lives that we’ve built are. They can be dismantled in seconds.

So what’s the answer here? I don’t know, but I can tell you what I told my own children after they witnessed my little outburst last year.   

I told them that sometimes emotions get so big, we don’t know what to do with them. Sometimes we can’t even identify them for what they are. I told them that we all make mistakes and that was definitely making one of mine. 

And I told them that what we do when we make a mistake is we think about why we made that mistake and how we can avoid making it again. And, of course, I reminded them to use their words, the good ones.

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