The impact of addiction and mental health issues in our society are far reaching, if not always visible to many people. Treatment for those afflicted has become a major focus for many professionals, and the time has come for a radical change in our perceptions as a whole.
The traditional fear/judgment-based way of looking at those who suffer from these conditions is that they are a sort of anomaly in society. It’s as if society as a whole looks around and says, “These are the people with the problem. If we figure out what to do about them, everything will be alright.”
The change in how we view people can start to take place when we see those who suffer in the fringes of civilization not as the problem, but more as a signal of what needs to change in humanity as a whole.
We need to remember that people do not become sick in a vacuum; we only exist in the context of others. Treatment for individuals often happens in a sort of secluded, controlled and isolated environment that is very different from the outside world.
The hope is that people will become well, and then rejoin the world they left and be able to function “appropriately” in the very world in which their suffering began.
The solution I propose is in many ways simple, although the implementation will require the conscious, loving, and dedicated participation of many people who are willing to challenge fundamental beliefs about the nature of humanity and the world we have created.