Suicides, depression, and anxiety are at an all-time high in the United States, and these mental disorders should be seen not as personal disorders but as social disorders, says former US Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.
The US suicide rate is at its highest since 1941. Recently, a panel of American medical experts recommended that doctors screen all patients under 65, including children and teenagers, for anxiety disorders.
Robert Reich, a highly respected public policy expert, says the country must face these hard truths about US society.
“Maybe the widespread anxiety and depression, along with the near record rate of suicide, should not be seen as personal disorders,” he wrote in The Guardian. “Maybe they should be seen – in many cases – as rational responses to a society that’s becoming ever more disordered.
“After all, who’s not concerned by the rising costs of housing, and the growing insecurity of jobs and incomes?
“Who doesn’t worry about mass shootings at their children’s or grandchildren’s schools?
“Who isn’t affected by the climate crisis?
“Consider all this, and it would almost be stranger if you weren’t anxious, stressed, and often depressed.”
Without dealing with the underlying reasons for these disorders “no number of mental health professionals, and no amount of medications or hotlines, will be enough to substantially reduce the stress, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts that so many Americans are now experiencing”, he says.