Dwayne Buckingham November 20, 2015 No Comments

Michael Brown  Robin Williams  

As a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a compassionate clinical psychotherapist, I wrote this article with sadness and sorrow in my heart. Over the past few days we have witnessed the negative impact of what happens to a nation when individuals who are troubled do not receive any or inadequate mental health intervention.

In light of the recent loss of Michael Brown an unarmed 18 year-old black male who was shot and killed by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb and the death of Robin Williams an American actor, stand-up comedian and screenwriter who committed suicide, millions of Americans are mourning and trying to figure out what went wrong.

The answer is simple. Peace for all cannot be achieved until individuals who are troubled receive adequate mental health intervention, because murder, rioting, homicide and/or suicide are by-products of troubled and distorted thinking. It is impossible to have a peaceful nation when a large percentage of Americans do not have peaceful minds.

Here are two explanations for why we mourn:

Michael Brown 

The rioting that is currently occurring in St. Louis is a result of unresolved and suppressed anger that is associated with a history of real and/or perceived injustice. Anger is an emotion or mind-set that typically causes individuals to strike out when they feel that someone has treated them unfairly or unjustly. Anger often intensifies when individuals are frustrated, hurt, disappointed or threatened. The unfortunate death of Michael Brown caused this powerful emotion to manifest in many African Americans. It is important to remember that unmanaged anger is unhealthy and those who feel angered over an extended period of time typically lose their ability to think clearly and act rationally. Anger is part of the grieving process and is one of the most poorly managed emotions in society today. When expressed in a negative manner, it can and will hurt others. Marching and protesting can bring about legal justice, but mental health intervention is needed in order to heal troubled and angered minds. No mental health intervention = no peace! This is why we mourn.

Robin Williams  

According to CNN, Robin Williams committed suicide as a result of struggling with drug addiction and severe depression. Depression is an emotion or mind-set that typically causes individuals to internalize their suffering and/or distress. Depression often intensifies when individuals feel hopelessness, helplessness and discouragement. No matter how much money or fame an individual acquire, thoughts of hopelessness can cause him or her to do the unthinkable (commit suicide). Hope provides a means and desire to move forward in life. A person who lacks hope lacks the desire to progress. Money and fame can offer temporary peace and happiness, but adequate mental health intervention is needed in order to heal troubled and depressed minds. Inadequate mental health intervention = no peace! This is why we mourn.

I provided these brief explanations to help you understand why we mourn and to emphasize that the key to having a peaceful nation is to ensure that all Americans, especially those who are troubled receive sufficient and timely mental health intervention. Although tragedy after tragedy continues to occur on a daily basis in our great nation, politicians and social activists have yet to realize that laws and the legal system cannot ensure peaceful living. Laws, protests and/or fame cannot change or heal troubled minds. Psychological peace is the key to creating a healthy nation and this can only be achieved through mental health intervention.

Experiencing adversity is not avoidable, but overcoming it is definitely achievable. We cannot always determine and control the challenges we are confronted with, but we can determine and control how we cope with them. Sometimes our mind is our greatest weapon. It is only natural to want to attack those who hurt, devalue you, belittle you or disrespect you. However, fighting fire with fire has never proven to be effective. Get your mind right and your life will follow. Mourning is normal, but destruction is not. Remember that resilient people find solutions in problems. In contrast, troubled people find problems in every solution. Empowering people does not happen by highlighting their struggles, but by highlighting their strengths. Seek professional counseling and ask God for strength, but do not engage in self-destructive or self-inhibiting behavior.