Kanye West brought up more than black unemployment rates during his meeting with President Trump. IWF’s Patrice Onwuka highlighted three separate areas Kanye championedin the visit as well—including manufacturing jobs, education reform, and the Second Amendment. One additional area Kanye spoke on is mental health programs in school.
Kanye himself has dealt with his own mental health being stigmatized by the media and presented a great argument to Trump advocating for a “mental health deal” that would correspond with a larger economic deal.
Mental health awareness is becoming the hot topic of the millennial generation. I believe addressing this issue would end a lot of violence in our schools and lessen the burden on our prison system.
But the stigma around mental illness prevents people from seeking help when they need it, and the lack of education has formed a knowledge gap when it comes time for others to take action.
Kanye pointed out, “We got rid of the mental health institutes in the 80’s and 90’s and prison rates shot up.” He is referring to the correlation between the explosion in U.S. prison populations and the psychiatric deinstitutionalization that started in the late 1970s.
A report by the Treatment Advocacy Center found that, “Ten times more mentally ill people are now in jails and prisons than in state psychiatric hospitals.” How can we prevent mentally ill people from entering the system in the first place, and urge them toward facilities that provide the treatment they need?
The meeting between Trump and Kanye drew attention to the source of the issue: lack of education about mental at a young age. Millennials are the most aware generation on mental health and it is important that we continue the conversation to actualize change.
One way to end the stigma around mental illness is implementing educational programs in schools that teach children age-appropriate warning signs, healthy coping mechanisms, and how to interact with those who have a mental illness.
Groups like the National Alliance on Mental Illness advocate for Mental Health Awareness weeks in schools. Children are the future. If children grow up in an environment that is better suited for dealing with mental health issues when they arise, our entire country will have a better future.