We do not have a sudden unexpected explosion in the numbers of young people with mental health problems. It is our society that is becoming increasingly pathological to the extent that it is becoming actively hostile to the mental wellbeing of all normally rational people. The huge rise in young people presenting mental health issues is a perfectly understandable response to being embedded in a world that is increasingly hostile to the human psyche.
If you were to wander naked in the desert without water under a blazing sun you would expect to cause significant damage to your body. We expect our young people to grow up in a society where they are expected to compete with each other from the earliest age. We celebrate greed and avarice, praising those who most successfully exploit others and see compassion and empathy as weaknesses. It is a society red in tooth and claw. If you place the human psyche of a sensitive young person into such a hostile environment you can expect there will be significant damage. We have created a society that actively and systematically damages the mental wellbeing of our young people.
We now tell young people that unless they get the very best grades at school and university they will be seen as failures. Even as small children we test and grade them, treating them as nothing more than commodities that need to be systematically honed to produce the desired attributes for future commercial exploitation.
Even those that “succeed” in the terms laid down by society will leave their education with huge debts and find that the only available housing has either astronomical rents or prices way beyond their means. Many will be expected to work as self-employed people with zero hour contracts, no employment rights and no security. Where does hope for their dreams and aspirations for a fulfilling future lie in such an environment?
It doesn’t have to be this way. Society should serve the interests of the many not an avaricious exploitative few. The destiny of the next generation should not be the systematic processing into small compliant cogs in a huge grinding soulless corporate machine.
Instead of teaching our young people to remorselessly compete and clamber over others to strive for their goals, we should be teaching them the joys of cooperation, partnership and helping to lift others up to realise their best.
Instead of teaching them to celebrate self-interest and greed we should teach them to celebrate compassion, empathy and love.
Instead of burying young people with grinding debt we should be giving them a launch-pad for a fulfilling and purposeful life.
Instead of putting them into the hands of exploitative landlords who remorselessly extract the product of their labour, we should be building social housing and capping the grotesque excesses of the private rented sector.
Instead of pumping our young people with Valium so that they can exist in an increasingly harsh and psychotic society, we should strive to build a society that nurtures human beings, not one that exploits and damages them.
The majority of young people now being treated for mental health issues are really suffering because they possess a sanity which recoils in horror from an increasingly hostile and pathological environment.