– How Mental Health affects the country

These are indeed strange times we live in today. It is nothing like the America I grew up in the 1950’s and 60’s. Today, we hear of such things as armed attacks on our schools, something never thought possible in my day. The knee-jerk reaction is to increase gun control and disarm the populace. There is little thought about the state of mind of the person pulling the trigger. Even if all of the guns were eliminated, there would still be people finding new ways to take the lives of others. So, the problem wouldn’t be solved. This is what got me thinking of Mental Health in the United States, something neglected for far too long.

Let me give you an example, for many years, the country had several psychiatric hospitals funded by the government. As I grew up, I knew of one in Chicago and another in Cincinnati. Perhaps you knew of one in your home town as well. They all served a vital purpose; to help those experiencing mental disorders. However, over the 1970’s and 1980’s, these were all shut down for funding reasons, and the patients transferred to jails, institutions that are not as well suited for treating people than the old psychiatric hospitals. At least 25% of the inmates in jail today suffer from some form of mental illness, and I’m told that number is on the rise.

Mental Illness affects our intellectual and emotional potential and, as such, influences our behavior. This, of course affects our socialization skills and ability to process what we are doing (problem solving). We now live in a world with people who possess hair-triggered tempers, resulting in primal speech laced with vulgarities, and reactionary violence. Even worse, the rest of us are suppose to accept it. The days of common courtesy are long behind us, which is discouraging. These are weak minded people who either have a physical deformity in their head or are prone to suggestions from others, right or wrong, thereby altering their perceptions and thought patterns.

There are two elements to be a sane person:

A. Perceptions – being able to correctly interpret the world around us through our five senses. Our perceptions can be impaired through such things as mental defect, drugs, alcohol, exhaustion, lies and deception, etc. As an old systems man, I can tell you authoritatively, if the input is wrong, everything that follows will be incorrect.

B. Processing – being able to produce logical conclusions. This too can be impaired as mentioned above, but add “lack of education” to it.

Understand this, all of our actions and decisions are based on these two variables.

What we are witnessing is a significant change to our culture as a result of our neglecting mental illness. Probably all of us have asked ourselves why this is happening. Beyond prisons, let us consider other indicators. To illustrate:

* The “Karen” movement, something that was nonexistent just ten short years ago. A “Karen” is a person, either female or male, who possesses a false sense of reality (only sees things from his/her perspective, not others), has no sense of empathy, possesses a sense of entitlement (that laws, rules, regulations do not apply to them), and are rather obnoxious in their interpersonal behavior to get their way, aka “Bullying.” Shouting and repetition in speech is a common weapon used by them. They are so convinced they are right, they are shocked and agitated when law enforcement arrests them and a judge finds them guilty of their behavior. The “Karen” phenomenon is becoming rather commonplace as we see it in retail stores, banks, offices, hospitals, on aircraft, “road rage,” just about everywhere. Such people are not ashamed of their actions and they are unapologetic for attacking others. Their focus is on themselves exclusively and nobody else. This suggests ego problems and the need to dominate others.

* Sovereign Citizens (aka, SovCits) – this is closely related to “Karens.” These are passive-aggressive people who resist law enforcement personnel and decisions by the courts. They are commonly found on our roadways where law enforcement pulls someone over for such things as speeding, not having a license plate (or an expired one), having a light out, failing to signal properly. When the officer pulls them over and asks to see their driving license, registration certificate, and proof of insurance, the SovCits refuses claiming his/her Constitutional rights do not require producing such documents. This often turns ugly as the driver is forcibly removed from his/her vehicle, handcuffed, and arrested for failing to comply. It is amazing how much these people do not truly understand the law. This is not simply a matter of a different point of view, but rather, they do not recognize state and local laws and resist police authority. By doing so, they are undermining public safety and the U.S. Constitution, which stipulates states can implement other laws not included in the Constitution, such as handling traffic. Basically, SovCits want to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and to hell with law enforcement authority as they do not believe it has a bearing on them. Very naive. Quite simply, they are looking for reasons not to cooperate and comply with local laws. This suggests problems with their reasoning capabilities and hatred for authority, or they are simply trying to cheat the system.

* Schools – are much different than my day when all we had to learn is reading, writing, and arithmetic. There were also courses in language, music, Social Studies, History, and Civics where we learned how the government functioned. These last two items are incredibly weak today in schools. As such, students do not have a grasp of American History, the Constitution, and how local government works. They are also being taught the corporate world (Big Business) is evil, as is capitalism. This is where “entitlement” is learned and why the concept of workmanship suffers, and no corporate loyalty. At the college level, walk outs and demonstrations have become common place, and civil debate has been replaced by “shout downs.” How does this apply to mental illness? It demonstrates how false perceptions can be taught and embraced by the student, thereby affecting their mental patterns.

* Workplace – here, we occasionally hear about “office rage.” This is often caused by failing to respect authority, and an employee takes on a “Karen” approach to life, thereby disturbing the harmony of the corporate culture. Like Schools, many offices have lock down procedures should an employee blow a gasket.

In nonprofit organizations, the goal should be to promote harmony and cooperation through common goals. However, most today are run with an iron fist through autocratic rule thereby creating a highly charged political nightmare, and membership suffers.

* Morality – for several years, Gallup has been monitoring trends in morality. Their latest report announced a study whereby 50% of Americans thought the morality of the country was poor. Only 12% thought it was good. This is a big shift and may explain why religious institutions are on the decline. Television and movies have more influence today than the clergy. There is also a war on Christians underfoot. Consider this: years ago, divorce and declaring bankruptcy were considered shameful. We’re way past this point. Now, cheating is considered a perfectly acceptable form of behavior, and we are expected to accept things like trans-gender men in women’s sports. WOKEism, which is designed to teach us how to think about society, is actually a form of brainwashing and, as such, mental illness.

* Jails/Prisons – besides accommodating mental patients, our jails have become breeding grounds for drugs and crime. I know of one sheriff’s deputy, who worked in the local county jail, that estimated 99% of all inmates were taking illicit drugs smuggled into the facility. Such institutions also represent schools for learning how to violate the law. A young person going into such a facility will undoubtedly learn new scams and mayhem. In other words, instead of learning to adapt to society, most are likely to reoffend and extend their criminal careers. 

All of these anomalies are caused by mental illness and, as mention, it can be caused by some physical defect, or learned either willfully or accidentally. As to the latter, how exactly is this caused?

* The rise of a drug culture that goes way beyond the 1960’s (or the last ten years for that matter).

* Excessive addiction to personal technology which gave birth to “instant” behavior, e.g., we demand something NOW, not later, and have no patience for waiting.

* The obsolescence of parental responsibility who are suppose to offer advice, and become role models of “right and wrong” for their offspring.

* Journalism and political irresponsibility who flagrantly lie to the public. This is reminiscent of Joseph Goebbels, the famed Nazi propagandist, who is remembered for saying, “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”


No, gun control is not the answer, unless it is to check a person’s stability in order to own one. Even then, teaching gun safety to the schools and general public is imperative. Here are some other suggestions (in no particular order):

1. Re-institute psychiatric hospitals. Separate those who truly need help from the prison population.

2. Intensify the war on drugs, do not soften it. Make penalties for taking or selling drugs much harsher. Also, secure the borders as this has increased drug trafficking and placed an unneeded burden on our entire country.

3. Regulate the use of personal technology, particularly in the classroom, stop the addiction.

4. Have youth visit a court house, jail, and explain the process of booking and observe a trial. While we’re at it, let’s beef up History and Civics classes.

5. Improve parenting skills to breed a new sense of responsibility. Conduct classes for parenting. The objective is to teach youth: Discipline, organization, accountability, responsibility, sacrifice/empathy. This can be aided by…

6. Develop an apprentice system. A stint in the military or Peace Corps is nice, but understanding what is required to function in a workplace can greatly affect a youth’s perspective on life.

7. Follow the rules and adapt to change. If the rules are inconsistent and need to be updated. Do so. And remember, try to achieve consensus; create Win-Win scenarios.

8. Re-institute a censorship board over movies and television. They obviously do not know how to regulate themselves.

9. Take the news media to task for fallacious reporting. Impose stiff penalties for inaccuracies. Editorials are one thing, facts are quite another.

Years ago, schools and the military added salt peter to meals, thereby having a calming effect on people, particularly males. Maybe it’s time to bring it back as well.

One of the things I learned from all this, is Mental Illness can be taught. Sure, there are physical abnormalities, but teaching people a different perspective on life or that 2 + 2 = 5, can be just as damaging.

So, do we have a Mental Health problem? Hell yes and it is growing every day, yet this country doesn’t seem to be too interested in solving this horrible problem. We can hope the problem will just go away, but as we all know, it will not.

Keep the Faith!

P.S. – For a listing of my books, click HERE.

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is an author, freelance writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 40 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Copyright © 2023 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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