This is an old entry that I wrote in an impassioned state after thinking about a news story I read. The topic was somewhat touched on in the Random Thought thread, so I decided to post this to make a few points, since the discussion around therapy and psychological education reminded me of it.
I keep preaching this constantly, repetitively, everywhere I go...but I believe that implementing psychological health education into the standardized education system is a positive solution to so many of society's problems.
If you need some context, this is what inspired the following thoughts:
More awareness needs to be spread about the ways mental health issues manifest into the society. Part of mental health stigmatization is that psychology is only for those who are ill, those with disorders, and/or those with traumatic psychological injuries. That is comparable to saying physical exercise is only for people with diabetes, obesity, etc. Just like physical health, I strongly support the notion that mental health is for all of us, it's something we all need self-care in just as much as physical self-care. Just as it's not only those in bad physical shape who need exercise, it is not only those with conditions who need psychological maintenance. We brush our teeth, we shave, shower, urinate, and so forth, all as physical health maintenance. What mental health maintenance practices are we implementing into our lives?
These types of tragedies aren't personal. I don't mean to sound insensitive; I myself endured childhood abuse of each of the types, so I'm fully capable of empathizing with the personal detriments when I say that, and I'm not minimizing or invalidating the personal impact. What I'm instead suggesting is that the problem is bigger than our own personal lives. In other words, I think this story highlights the shortcomings of society to protect others from these kinds of parents, and any others who are close to the children, in our society. We watch it on the news, we read the stories of what happens on a daily basis, we feel anger and sadness for the victims, and we implement punishments (if the perpetrators are caught), but what do we do as a society to prevent things? Each time we shake our heads and say, "there are crazy people in this world," then go on with our day, we are failing. While we can't punish people for crimes they haven't committed, those in the professional field know there are almost ALWAYS warning signs that were missed, indicators that we should have at minimum exercised caution about trusting the wrong person. People don't just go to bed mentally sound (and benevolent), then wake up the next morning and brutally stab their own children. There are signals that are given off.
In the USA, at very least...there IS no education pertaining to abusive households. There IS no safe place for you to go tell someone, even if you (as a child) actually can recognize what's happening at home is wrong. Furthermore, there is no education that tells people, "If someone is suffering from delusions, it's important to contact a professional and seek help/screening for them, as it could become dangerous. Do not leave those with delusions alone with children." Those 4 young babies—not one of them older than age 4—didn't have to die so tragically.
As I was reading, and it described their wounds...no baby should go that way. Not unless it's got razor sharp teeth, red demon eyes, sprouts devil horns, and is coming after everyone to eat them. That is when you can dismiss it as "the work of the devil," but unless that happens, we as a society must examine where we went wrong in protecting those who can't control what households they are born into. The last thing they saw was their blood covered mother, who they were supposed to trust, who was supposed to take care of them, taking their lives. They saw their dead siblings, they heard their siblings' screams, they felt both physical and emotional anguish. That 7-year-old is forever traumatized by what he witnessed. That's not just some tragedy that happened because there are sick people in this world. The father knew that several weeks prior to this event, she was hallucinating and suffering from delusions, and that she was talking about how someone was trying to come harm her babies. There were warning signs.
Why do we hear so much about the aftermath of unfortunate events such as those, but never a thing about the signs that they might happen? People fear and lack trust when they've been close to situations like this, also, but it's not because of the trauma. It's not because there are untrustworthy people out there, even. It's because they don't know how to identify who is a threat and who is safe anymore.