Education and Mental Health

I recently read an article on CBC about a series of studies connecting mental illness on the rise in students. http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2010/08/12/mental-illness-college.html

In my own experience I know that lack of education is causing a lot of mental illness related problems. I grind my teeth, get depressed more and more and I feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and abandonment from everyone. When I was in university I was always anxious about lack of money and how was I going to fund things. Student loans pile on more worry and more distraction from the main focus of getting knowledge. Being treated as a mere source of revenue for cold bureaucratic university administrators isn’t helping students.

Tonight on the National there was a piece about the government of Canada ignoring our Veterans. In it one of the Veterans mentioned he couldn’t even get funding for two years of college. He served in Afghanistan on the front lines and Canada won’t give him money for college? The Veteran’s in the piece are right, ‘Support Our Troops is a smoke screen’. On battle fields smoke is used to change positions without the enemy noticing.

When veteran’s aren’t getting education, psychiatric treatment, and pensions to support them after losing limbs ‘Support Our Troops’ becomes a meaningless concept. Buying bumper stickers, magnets, ribbons and flags isn’t getting one veteran into college or university, or into treatment or into housing. The current government uses the military as a prop to win votes and after the election silences them. They dumped Colonel Stogram because he was identifying the problems and solutions Veteran’s Affairs needed. We have a government that believes soldiers should come home dead to save the government money. Remember one of the first acts of this government was to stop lowering the flag on Parliament to half mast when a soldier died.

Veteran’s not getting help with mental illness and education is just the tip of the iceberg in this country’s lack of support for people with mental health or education needs. We are not only ignoring potential in this country, we are seeking to destroy it. Knowledge is the most important strategic resource a country has and without education and mental health we will lose our knowledge. Ever increasing tuition fees for decreasing access to education is causing a mental health breakdown amongst students.

Education and mental illness are connected in another way or disconnected actually. So many people are absolutely ignorant about mental health problems. People don’t realize dealing with education funding and mental health better will reduce costs to society. Mentally ill people are filling our prisons, our welfare system, our disability system and reducing our national potential. As long as we leave things as they are or head down the neo-conservative road of every man for themselves we will be a nation giving up on itself and its future.

We don’t need slogans like support our troops or no child left behind we need money and action. So often the people who use slogans have actions that say the opposite. We either fund education and mental health from the cradle to the grave or we lose our nation’s sovereignty to a nation that does.

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