Yesterday, I talked about how my efforts to correct my posture and stand up straighter was causing some soreness, and how that whole thing was an apt analogy for my mental illness. Today, I want to project that idea onto society as a whole because there are definitely areas where society is slouching as well. And also areas that society is starting to strengthen itself.
We see this process on the news. The calls being made by so many right now for criminal justice reforms are an example of an area where society had been slouching but is finally starting to correct itself. And perhaps one of the most important areas of criminal justice reform is mental health reform within the criminal justice system.
Because by some counts instances of serious mental illnesses in the prison are several times that what they are in the normal population. From the moment when the police are first called all the way through an individual’s incarceration, the fact is that not enough is done to address mental illness. Cops, courts, and correctional facilities simply aren’t equipped and aren’t trained for handling mental health issues, even though they become de facto crisis counselors, therapists, and mental health facilities.
And so when we talk about straightening out society, this is a major area and one that shouldn’t even see much disagreement between the parties. Yes, it will take some pushing to get such reform across the finish line, and undoubtedly it will cause some soreness as these systems are forced to adjust. Yet, if we can’t straighten out these flaws within our society than we will continue to fall short of our potential as a just society.
And all of this, these changes that I talk I am talking about above, must be part of a bigger straightening, one that ends the stigma. Because not only does the stigma still exist, it still holds so many of us back, even when we try to be open and honest about our battles. And until society straightens out this stigma problem, it will continue to hold too many of us back.
And only then will our society start truly strengthening itself.