A canary in a coal mine...

Uncommon Sense
children free

I just posted a blog entry speaking about my desperate need for a place to put my thoughts - to vent, rant, whinge, I believe I said - about the crazy or odd or extraordinary things I hear or read about in the news and online everyday.

Every morning, I watch the news with my morning coffee.  And every morning, because the world in general seems to be getting more nonsensical and/or disturbing by the day, I invariably go off on a major rant about one news report or another.

The specific report that had me running to my computer to launch my own personal column/blog ran just a few days ago.  I had to write about it.

It was a story about the problems some families are encountering with the current state of mental health care services in Nova Scotia - where I happen to be right now.  It featured the parents of suicidal children who felt their concerns were not being taken seriously.

Oddly enough, it wasn't the issue of deficient medical services that got to me.  While I will no doubt get around to writing what I think about the broken Canadian medical system at some point in this blog, it is not what made me feel as though I have to - need to, for the sake of my own mental health - write opinion column-style again.

No, what got me so upset the other day was not the quality of care that the children (two were featured) received, but their ages.

They were seven and ten.

So, this is what our modern world, our nation of opportunity, has come to?  Really?  Spirit-broken ten-year-olds? Suicidal seven-year-olds?  

How much more devastating do the mental health horror stories about youth have to become before we all collectively realize that there is something wrong with how too many of our children are being raised/schooled/entertained/cared for these days?

What will happen to these children?  To all the others that are struggling in the same ways? Will they now be medicated into submission?  Into near catatonia? Will they be labelled, diagnosed, subjected to the the trial and error cycle of  medications that the mental health system seems to rely upon these days? 

Or will they...oh, I hope they will...become an impetus for change?  Will they be seen as the much needed societal "canary in the coal mine"; the definitive sign that there is danger lurking?

I will write further, in future, about my own children and their experiences with mental health issues...depression, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness.  There was actually a time, in both of their younger lives, when I went completely against the advice of mental health professionals/school officials and hauled them both out of school for extended periods of time...so that they could simply rest.  So that they could decompress, relax, think...and just be young.  And although it was hard to go against what others thought was right, I'm so very glad I did back then...

It was like hitting the reset button on their young, over-scheduled, pressurized lives.

Too many children these days, in my opinion, are not allowed to ever actually really be children...experience childhood...anymore.  

The warning signs are all around us, folks...and the canary in this particular coal mine died the moment a seven-year-old became aware of the word, and contemplated, suicide.


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