There is much that can be said about Donald Trump’s and Stephen Harper’s views on mental health. Both seem intent on labelling people and seeing “mental illness” as the root of many of society’s problems. In their approaches one can understand the real cause of emotional distress in our societies.
Both men, and to some extent the parties they claim to represent, tend to have an “us or them ” mentality. They both love to label anyone who doesn’t see the world the way they do as the “other”, with “others” not deserving any consideration or protection.
A significant cause of emotional distress in all countries is the disintegration of emotionally connected social structure. People are becoming more and more emotionally isolated. The rise in the use of mental health facilities, as well as the dumbing down of the treatment modalities in these facilities to cope with the demand, is indication of how our countries are producing people with less resilience and more emotional fragility.
Donald Trump and Stephen Harper would wish that we see all people who are suffering as inadequate, lazy or malingering. This attitude should not be tolerated. We can all hope that in up-coming elections, that people can see through the self-absorbed pontifications of these narcissistic men, and stand up for the needs of all people. It is through empathy and connection that we can build a better society. Seeing people who are struggling or have less resources as the “other” just breeds unrest and a fractured society.