Sometimes I think the entire world is crazy. So much that takes place in society seems to be counter-productive to healthy human development. I remember when I graduated from college with a degree in early childhood development. A major study had just been completed that examined the effect of violence on television to violence in the streets. The result was that there was a clear connection. You cannot imagine how excited I was to hear that because I expected the programming on television to change. After all as a society we talk about family values and living righteous lives, right? So naturally I expected the things we do in society to support our belief in strong family values.

But the change that I thought would happen not only did not happen but the situation got worse. We began to see more violence on many prime time programs then even in cartoons. And now violence is rampant in video games and almost anything that is supposed to be entertainment for our children. Is this supposed to represent mental health?

Then yesterday I heard on the news that physicians are now prescribing Ritalin to preschool children! I could hardly believe it. Preschool children are supposed to be full of energy. The unbridled energy of preschool is what being a preschooler is about. This is the time when children learn to manage their energy so they can be appropriate as they get older. Play is their work. Putting children on chemicals that affect their mind and behavior at such an early age…in my opinion this should only happen in rare, rare cases.

My degree and first career were in early childhood development so I speak with a level of knowledge as well as emotion. It seems to me that feeding preschoolers Ritalin will mask their true nature. The first five years of life are when character is developed and it’s an especially great time to uncover the child’s natural gifts and talents. But with Ritalin in their system changing their behaviors rather than enabling them to learn themselves and adapt to society – it’s a great disservice to the child and to society. I wonder what the mental health of these children will be like when they become adults.

All of this causes me to look at mental health from a perspective that I hope is healthy. If we listen to and become the person that society leads us to believe we should be I think we would all have mental health issues. We’d be taking some form of chemicals on a daily basis – whether or not we really need them, we’d be angrily striving for more things to own, violence would be standard on the streets and in our homes, knowing our values would be confusing and we would treat each other with disrespect. What kind of world would that be? Or is that the kind of world we actually have at this time?

It’s a wonder that any of us survive without deep mental health issues. Or maybe all of us are just a little bit crazy because we live in and have to deal with a society that offers confusing values and lots of judgment about each other. Is this the way we are supposed to honor the earth, each other and what it means to be a human being on the planet? I don’t think so.

Is it possible to escape the challenge of rising above the influence of society’s inconsistent values? I think it is becoming increasingly difficult. The only secret I have found is to dig deep within myself to know who I am. It is becoming more and more difficult to rely on parents because of their focus on maintaining financial self-sufficiency. It is hard to rely on teachers because classrooms are so full that individual attention becomes increasingly difficult as teachers get exhausted from the responsibility of so many to teach. How to we create a society that fosters healthy development and provides children with an environment of healthy foundations? It is difficult when there are so many visible forces promoting something different.

It starts with an awareness of what we are dealing with. Mental health to me becomes a realistic awareness of the world that is around us. And it’s also finding a healthy way to handle it. Unfortunately it is not possible to change the world. Even though so many of us are dissatisfied with our society it is really, really challenging to change the forces that have been at work for centuries. Look at how widespread the current protests are against Wall Street and the financial worlds. Even with millions of people protesting all across the globe, change has not taken place and if it does it will probably be very slow. Hopefully it will be effective.

What we can do is make a positive impact on the world around us. When we focus on our self, family and close friends and help each other to maintain a level of healthy mental attitudes we create a world of cooperation and collaboration that breeds mental health at all ages.

Author's Bio: 

Norma T. Hollis, America’s Leading Authentic Voice Doctor® helps people find, live and share their authentic voice. Norma offers various authenticity products, programs and seminars across the country focused on personal development, leadership, youth, women and professional speaking. Take Norma’s Authenticity Assessment and participate in the free Authentic Tuesday calls to live more abundantly with authenticity. These gifts are available at