Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump accepted the party’s nomination during a 75-minute speech on the evening of July 21. His long-winded “America in peril” commentary made 11 references to violence, nine mentions of both immigration and terrorism, but zero comments that included the word “hope.”
I listened to the entirety of Trump’s discourse and felt saddened by his lack of positive reflection on any aspect of American life. The acceptance speech also had no references specific to solving the mental health crisis in this country and decreasing the 2016 spike of unnecessary deaths due to gun or other violence.
Thousands of Americans commit suicide yearly, while thousands of others are murdered by mentally ill individuals. Countless citizens dealing with addiction issues, bipolar challenges, depression, PTSD, schizophrenia or a gamut of psychological problems, kill others and/or themselves during acts of domestic violence, during criminal activity or terrorism.
Trump made a brief mention of his late parents, Fred Sr. and Mary Anne, his two sisters, MaryAnne and Elizabeth, one remaining brother, Robert, and a vague reference to his “late brother, Fred.” Trump did not divulge that his brother lost his life due to alcoholism at age 43 in 1981.
Freddy Trump was “the oldest son and heir apparent” to the Trump real estate empire his father, Fred Sr., had created. “From the beginning, Freddy stood out as different from his authoritarian, workaholic father,” according to The New York Times on Jan. 3, 2016.
Trump’s acceptance speech in Cleveland had an abundance of blatant statements about the “problems in America.” However, there seemed to be minimal strategy for executing the grandiosity of his vision that would be either economically feasible or acceptable to other sectors of American government.
The reality of 2016 and the shortcomings of our educational and mental health systems need to be the focus of extensive bipartisan dialogue. But offering positive references about this beloved country are equally important.
Fixing our broken public school system and addressing mental health issues with massive financial support are two foundational problems within the United States that merit immediacy.
Fully funding mental health services, while also paying clinicians a livable wage, would be a start toward easing the challenges of working within this profession, and repairing a system that falls far short of helping those struggling with psychological issues.
Expanding such worthy programs as Delaware County’s veterans treatment court would be a beneficial usage of public funds in an attempt to lower the estimated suicide rate of 20 veterans who die daily in the United States, according to Justice For Vets statistics.
The program assists veterans who have run afoul with the law, and often suffer from addiction issues, depression, PTSD, or are encountering unemployment, financial issues and sometimes homelessness.
Veterans treatment courts now number about 225 nationwide, with 13 in Ohio, far below the number needed to adequately serve our retired military members. This unique treatment modality for helping troubled veterans was the subject of my June 3, 2015, column.
Halting the increasing suicide rate, the spike in deaths via domestic or gang violence, and the unnecessary killing or injury of unarmed American civilians, will take money, patience and time.
Public education is a broken cornerstone to the “American dream.” Providing affordable and available mental health services delivered by livable wage-paid clinicians is also a necessity.
The financial feasibility of “building a wall” is not one of Trump’s pompous propositions that we can afford when so many other essential human services are needed.
Mariann Main is a Delaware native, journalism undergraduate of Ohio State University, and has a master’s degree in counseling. She can be reached with commentary or questions at [email protected]