Reading, ‘Riting, ‘Rithmatic

Posted: November 5, 2007 in Children, Family, Homelessness, Mental Health, Misconceptions, Morality, Poverty, Stereotypes

With the easy access to information in so many different forms, it’s a pretty safe bet that most people have come across at least one study or report about stress: it’s not good, can cause physical and/or mental health issues, and all other sorts of negative side effects.

Of course, there is no way of avoiding stress all together and those same studies that promote trying to reduce stress, also indicate that some stress may even be a necessary component in maintain proper psychological health.

It should be no surprise that the pharmaceutical companies have jumped on the band wagon. The seem to be going full tilt at trying to produce all manner of prescription drugs to "help" people deal with the effects of stress. And of course, since they want people spending money on these prescriptions, they have an on-going blitz of advertising to tell you how great their particular drug is.  

Call me simple minded, but it seems to me that if you want to cure something you deal with the root cause and do not just treat the symptom – therefore it should be easy to conclude that something like stress (which isn’t something you can catch like a common cold) should be able to be treated without the use of drugs. All you have to do is learn how to deal with the types of situations that create stress in the first place. For the average adult, that should be something that can be accomplished since most adults should be disciplined enough to at least attempt someway of learning to deal with stress.

Although children seem to be able to learn new skills faster than adults, teaching them how to deal with stress is a bit more difficult. As a result, more and more children are being affected by "negative" stress.

Homeless children are more susceptible to the negative side effects of stress than are non-homeless children.

According to the fact sheet: "Homeless Children: America’s New Outcasts," which can be found on the National Center on Family Homelessness web site:

  • More than one-fifth of homeless children between 3 and 6 years of age have emotional problems serious enough to require professional care.
  • Homeless children between 6 and 17 years struggle with very high rates of mental health problems.
  • Less than one-third of homeless children are receiving mental health treatment."

I’m sure most people remember the big hoopla about "No Child Left Behind" debate and all of the other political rigmarole but when you consider that there are over 1 million children who, this year, will experience homelessness in this nation you have to admit that there are quite a number of children who are indeed being left behind: our nations’ homeless children.

I’m always amazed when I hear someone advocate "getting a job" as the cure for homelessness. But since homeless children are at a distinct disadvantage with it comes to getting a well rounded and proper education as a direct result of their homelessness, how can we expect that they will be able to acquire employment in their adult lives that will allow them to maintain a place to live?

By not doing what we must do to help homeless families get off of the streets, aren’t we actually setting up the children in these families for a life of poverty and homelessness?

Like I said, I believe in cause and effect…

If we don’t believe in the cause and do something to help these children, the effect will be devastating to this nations’ future.

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