Thursday, April 12, 2012

Despertainment

I watch an appalling amount of TV, through Netflix and Hulu.  It turns out that I love Toddlers and Tiaras, and have a shameful enthusiasm for Intervention on A&E.  Hoarders is so-so, but I'm just emerging from a really nasty cloud of fatigue wherein I watched at lot of TV and am getting kind of sick of it.  

I know it's exploitative, and I was thinking about how bad to feel about watching this stuff, and I realized that the fact that Americans will go on television at their lowest point just to get the help they need is a pretty serious indictment of the American mental health care system.  It's more like an expose than entertainment.  

I'm just surprised that I've never heard anyone say this.  I don't think Americans think about mental health as something that a community needs to step up and take care of on a public scale, like we kind of do with physical health.  Unless someone with a mental illness makes a major imposition on the life of the public at large, we think we can ignore it.  

It's really exciting to think about a country in which people had access to the mental health services they needed.  The way mental health and incarceration and poverty intersect in our country is very complicated and sad.  

The major conflict I feel about expanding the reach of mental health services is what would be imposed on people who don't want or need "help."  I'll think about this for a while, and if I come to any conclusions, update my thoughts.  

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