In my last NAMI class, I learned about some mental health preventions a parent can implement I have never heard before. I read many books about childcare in the 80’s but prevention of mental disorders along with emotional and mental well-being guidelines was not included in those books at that time.
Prevention of Mental Disorders
NIMH has evidence that toxoplasmosis doubles or triples the risk for schizophrenia. Pregnant women can get the parasitic infection, toxoplasmosis, quite easily. Precautions include not eating undercooked meat, not handling cat litter, and washing the hands often as needed.- NAMI Family to Family Education Program 4.18, 2014
- Allow children to process their emotions by allowing them to release emotions and to speak what is in their heart. The idea that children are to be seen but not heard is an expression that is hopefully completely buried and gone forever.
- Insist on having your children wear helmets when engaging in activities with risk. There is a growing consensus that schizophrenia disorder can result from damage to the frontal lobes of the head.
- Of course, the normal recommendations to get sufficient sleep, eat and drink healthily and getting regular activity can help improve mental health.
- Pay attention to stress levels. If needed, see a healthcare provider for help managing stress.
Ted Talk- Suffering due to mental illness
One in five children has a serious and debilitating mental disorder. More than 4600 children and young people die each year from completing suicide. (2016 NIMH statistics increased to 6,159 suicides, between age 10 and 24) And yet across America, parents are struggling to find solutions for their hurting children. Too often, the only solution is jail: between 50 and 75 percent of children in juvenile detention have a mental illness, often untreated, at a tremendous cost to taxpayers and society. Parents feel isolated, alone, and afraid.- 2013 Ted Talk Time to Talk by Liza Long
Revealing cancer funding versus mental health funding for research
In 2017, it is estimated 1,790 children and youth will die of cancer versus the 2016 statistics of 6,159 children and youth that died from suicide (over 3 times as many than die of cancer). It is known approximately 90% of these children and youth that died of suicide had a mental illness. Despite these numbers, in 2018, the United States will fund NCI 5.665 billion for cancer research versus funding NIMH $1,244.901 million, a decrease of $300.546 million from 2017 for prevention of mental disorders.
More emphasis on mental health research is critical
Why is cancer research being funded almost 4 and a half billion dollars more than mental health research when three times as many children/youth are dying of mental illness as die of cancer. One in five children has a seriously debilitating mental illness. Why isn’t this problem being addressed? We must campaign to get funding for prevention of mental disorders!
More Americans receive mental health treatment in prisons and jails than in hospitals or treatment centers
More Americans receive mental health treatment in prisons and jails than in hospitals or treatment centers. In fact, the three largest inpatient psychiatric facilities in the country are jails: Los Angeles County Jail, Rikers Island Jail in New York City and Cook County Jail in Illinois. Nation’s Jails Struggle With Mentally Ill Prisoners
Money that could be spent on prevention of mental disorders is being spent to house the mentally ill in prisons and jails (some statistics showing as high as 75-90% of inmates are mentally ill). This is a tragedy that jails and prisons have become the biggest mental health treatment facilities in the United States. Prison is not the appropriate place for people who are mentally ill!
Costs of Keeping an Inmate in Prison or Jail
A 2017 report was released by the Prison Policy Initiative reporting it costs state and federal governments and American families 182 billion dollars per year for mass incarceration. “What a tragedy!” The LA Times also reported the astronomical dollar amounts spent to house a prisoner in California and New York as of the year 2017.
As of 2017, the cost of housing a prisoner in California is$75,560. New York follows the closest second to about $69,000 per prisoner per year. LATimes
This is a United States crisis. We must put more focus on prevention of mental disorders before the present situation worsens.