One in thirteen American children takes a psychiatric drug today. One in four kids in “foster care” is on these drugs, as well. We live in an era of “children’s mental health care.”
Most call it “medicated”, but I call it what it really is: drugged.
We “medicate” shyness.
We “medicate” shame.
We “medicate” the fears that come from growing up in this world.
We “medicate” insecurity.
We “medicate” confusion.
We “medicate” the brilliant ones who see through all the bullshit, who refuse to surrender their individuality to the status quo,
We “medicate” individuality.
We “medicate” imaginations and daydreams.
We’ve drugged the sacred quest for meaning in our young people (and in ourselves, as well.)
We label our children “sick” and “ill” as though this were a noble (not to mention, valid) thing, as though placing the locus of the problem inside their individual minds—“This is mental illness”—will somehow “help” them. As though taking the next step of “medicating” them—putting powerful psychoactive chemicals into their developing brains and bodies, usually every day and for the rest of their lives—will somehow bring them health.
And of course, we call all of this “children’s mental health care” so that we can justify, for another day, our choice to avoid the consequences of this toxic world we’ve built for them, this world that’s swallowing them whole.
We need to put our heads on the pillow each night, after all.
If we are to truly help our children—this goes the same for our fellow adults, too— we must start by demystifying the so-called “mental health system” and naming it what it truly is: a mechanism of social control hidden behind a false veil of “medicine” and “science” and “care”. And it will take shifting our focus off of the individual mind—especially the mind of the child—to place it instead on the state of the world we live in. For we suffer and go “crazy” not because of problems within us, but because we’re intuiting and perceiving what’s around us, and responding to what’s happening to us, to our neighbors, to our communities.
To our collective human family.
As long as we believe in the concepts of “mental illness” and “mental health”, we will never truly address the real causes of our pain: this crazy world we live in, with all its pressure and intolerance and neglect and abuse and violence via classism, racism, sexism, and the countless ways that fear of difference becomes discrimination and oppression. We must stop “treating” ourselves—and especially our children—and instead focus our energies on transforming our relationships, our communities, our schools, our workplaces, our governments, our media, our use of technology, our consumption, and at the heart of it all, our ideologies.