It’s time to start talking about mental health

September 11, 2015 Commentary, Editorials Print Print
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Clayton Mitchell

Clayton Mitchell

The Roanoke News shooting has been on the minds of many in newspaper offices across the country since it happened. It makes those working in news just the slightest bit more worried that they may be the next to be murdered on the job.

To those not in news, however, it seems to have created more talk about gun issues.

The issue that is more on my mind with this particular shooting, as with most shootings, is mental health.

This country doesn’t do enough to care for those who have mental health issues.

And similarly, those people don’t feel comfortable coming forward about issues they may have, because they feel like they will be ridiculed instead of helped.

I can’t talk about that, though. Of course not. Because then I would be slammed by the political-correctness Nazis that drown my social media (and sometimes my real life) with their sensitive nature.

One person I know very well is one of these people. She told me that placing the blame on mental health was offensive to those with mental health issues.

When I tried to approach the mental health topic after the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting in 2012, a number of people told me guns, not mental health, was to blame.

I assume this is because by me talking about mental health, I could hurt the feelings of those with mental health issues. I can’t hurt the feelings of an inanimate object such as a gun.

I’m not saying that gun laws aren’t an issue. It would be a lie to say I don’t get nervous when I see a person with a gun on his or her hip in public.

However, that doesn’t mean the underlying issue isn’t just as important. So, why the outcry? Why can’t I speak my mind without creating a politically correct backlash?

An essay by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt in the September 2015 issue of The Atlantic said about the current political correctness movement: “The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into ‘safe spaces’ where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable.”

This terrifies me, as I came to college in an attempt to broaden my horizons, not have them limited.

I see this happening throughout society. In what I like to call “Tumblrizing” of the world, we see “trigger warnings” introduced into the real world so that people are not offended easily.

Ultimately, if Roanoke shooter Vester Flanagan had not been able to obtain guns legally, he might have obtained them illegally.

So why are we focusing on taking away the guns he would still get and not trying to find a way to help Flanagan so that he did not want to commit murders?

Saying that we can’t talk about mental health being a serious issue because it might offend someone is ridiculous.

How can we fix a serious issue if we don’t talk about it?

If you think you can live your whole life without being offended, think again.

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