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Mental Health Illnesses a Hot Topic

Buffalo NY shooter, Payton Gendron
Buffalo NY shooter, Payton Gendron

By Emily Dietzmann

As of September 2021, adults in North Texas have higher depression and anxiety rates than the national average, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF). 

Mental health is a rising issue across the nation, and with May being Mental Health Awareness Month, the topic is one dominating headlines, especially with perpetrators of violent acts pointing to mental illness to explain their actions.

   For example, Jeremy Smith was arrested and charged in a shooting that wounded three women in a hair salon in the Koreatown section of Dallas.  His girlfriend said Smith had been admitted to health facilities because he had delusions that Asian Americans were trying to harm him.

   Meanwhile, Payton Gendron had received a mental health evaluation last year, long before he walked into a Buffalo, NY supermarket and opened fire, killing 10 and injuring three others.

Both assaults have been called “hate crimes” and the topic of mental illness continues to be included in narratives.

But in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, “the mental injury caused by encounters with racial bias, discrimination, and racism – is not acknowledged.

Unfortunately, mental health is an issue that is widespread and impacts all ages. According to KFF reports, in 2018 and 2019, 14.6% of people ages 12-17 reportedly had a “major depressive episode.” Additionally, 6.4% of adults faced similar issues. 

Because of mental health issues one may face, suicide rates are also on the rise. Suicide is now one of the leading causes of death in the United States, according to the CDC with the rate the highest in middle-aged white men.

Mental health may come in a variety of manners and symptoms, so it is important one monitors oneself and checks in with those around them. There are many resources available to an individual suffering with a form of mental health. To find someone to reach out to, visit https://www.naminorthtexas.org/local-resources.html.

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