The Health We Can't See

The Health We Can't See

Being that it’s mental health week, I’ve been reading lots of articles on the topic. Someone recently sent me a high school newspaper and I found an article written by 14 year old freshman Chena Williams.

Concerned with all the school shootings and that she herself might be in danger, she decided to do a little research and wrote an article sharing what she learned in hopes of educating other kids that could be secretly feeling fearful like her.

I am saddened by the fact that starting high school makes kids feel afraid of what danger might be lurking about in the classroom or how likely it is that they may be involved in a school shooting or any kind of shooting for that matter.

However, I can appreciate a kid this young being open to getting the facts first before allowing herself to be guided by fear and wanting to find out more information about mental health to better educate herself and her peers. Kudos to you Chena!

Read her article for yourself!

 The Health We Can’t See
By Chena Williams
Staff Writer for the Union Street Journal

James Holmes, the Aurora shooter who killed twelve people last year, was allowed to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Adam Lanza, the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooter, was diagnosed with Sensory Integration Disorder after he shot himself.

Sensory Integration Disorder is defined as the brain’s inability to organize sensory signals into appropriate responses by the rest of the body (according to the SPD foundation).
But do all mental disabilities lead to violence? Which ones are at risk? It’s easy to say that a criminal has a mental disability and therefore is absolved from a crime because he didn’t know any better, but which illnesses are dangerous? And, is that really the case?

Depression, a mental illness that often includes feelings of sadness, loneliness, despair, and low self-esteem is common place among high school students. The question is: does this put students at risk? Dr. Lisa Geisler of the Cherry Creek High School psychological department, said “We all get sad, but there’s a continuum of symptoms that goes into a more drawn out state of depression….there’s more and more missing in the brain than just being sad.”

Other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, may also carry a risk with them. Schizophrenia, which occurs in just 0.7% of adults – according to Web MD- has several telling symptoms: difficulty telling the difference between what is real and unreal, difficulty relating to others, and difficulty managing emotions among them. Schizophrenia appears predominately in late teens and also relates to bipolarity that causes shifts in energy, mood, and the ability to carry out tasks.

Violence isn’t a major documented side effect of either of these disorders. “Higher statistics do show that people with a history of trauma are more at risk to commit a violent action,” said Geisler. “In some cases, bullying can definitely be involved. More often than not there’s an underlying depression anxiety.”

Medical News Today provides information showing the many different types of depression mental disorders, including Dysthymia, Bipolar Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder and Psychotic Depression.
None of these illnesses have been consistently connected with violence or violent or aggressive behavior.

Asking questions and talking to an adult are the first steps in trying to differentiate sadness from disorders from violence. I must say I was suspicious, like everyone else, and I thought recent violent actions had occurred because of mental diseases, but that is not the case.
The reality in this situation is clear: mental diseases aren’t dangerous.

Are your kids concerned about danger in schools? Do they know about mental health? Maybe you should ask them if you haven’t already.

Do you think you might be suffering from depression?

Below are some links I found that might be able to help. Here’s to YOUR mental health!

Web MD

Psychology Today

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