On mental health [Editorial]

thendricks@theaegis.com

About one in four people experience a mental health issue each year, according to the World Health Organization.

A very small percentage of those folks act very badly when their mental health isn’t good. It only stands to reason that so much of the insanity reported on these pages and elsewhere could not be perpetrated by sane people.

The Harford County government, recognizing that mental health issues cause much of the violence in our community, is offering a series of four programs this fall to help address some of those issues.

“A helping hand can make all the difference when someone is struggling with feelings of anger, thoughts of suicide or mental illness,” County Executive Barry Glassman said in a statement last week. “These trainings will empower Harford County citizens to recognize the warning signs and build bridges to wellness.”

There’ s no need to recount here the cruelties people do to others or the deliberate, random violence committed seemingly anywhere at any time. Suffice to say, many violent acts committed somewhere seemingly every day are done by people who are not in the best of mental health.

This isn’t about guns – everyone knows where they stand on that issue. It is, however, about doing what can be done to help those in desperate need of mental health help before they pick up a gun, or get behind the wheel of a motor vehicle they plan to use as a weapon or grab whatever inanimate objects they can and turn them into weapons against innocent people.

The four sessions Harford County government is offering are Growth Mindset & Mental Health Services in Harford County Public Schools, Suicide Prevention (QPR – Question, Persuade and Refer) Training, Conflict Resolution Training and Mental Health Awareness Training.

It doesn’t matter nearly as much what the specific sessions are about as it matters that public officials have taken steps to address mental health by offering programs to not only help people recognize problems in others needing help, but also to offer help directly to some of those battling mental health issues.

When these same courses were first offered last April, the available seats were quickly filled. The Harford County government and Harford County Public Schools are jointly presenting the sessions that are being offered Wednesdays beginning Sept. 12.

“Educating the citizens of Harford County about mental health and how it is addressed in our schools is extremely important,” Sean Bulson, who just started his first year as superintendent of Harford County Public Schools, said. “I am excited to be part of continuing efforts throughout the county to ensure families have the necessary resources to understand the impact of mental health on our students.”

Attacking violence – gun and otherwise – begins with attacking mental health issues. Harford County is off to a good start with its second series on the matter. All Harford County residents should pay closer attention to the mental well being of those around them; participating in what the county is offering is a good way to start.

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