By Christy Barritt
One in Five Adults Had a Mental Illness in 2010
A survey funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed that in 2010, 20 percent of American adults had some form of mental illness. That’s more than 45 million people.
Reporting the most disorders is the 18- to 25-year-old group. Nearly 30 percent had a diagnosable disorder with major depression being the most prevalent.
Women are more likely than men to have a mental disorder (23 percent vs. 16.8 percent). However, mental illness among men is on the rise.
Those living below the poverty line, according to the survey, also had significantly higher rates of mental illness than those with larger incomes.
The race with the lowest amount of mental illness is Asians at 15.8 percent.
Student Censored for Pro-Family Beliefs
Brandon Wegner, a high school student in Wisconsin, never imagined the firestorm that would ignite when he wrote an editorial for his student newspaper about why children should be raised in a home by a mother and father.
He argued that children raised in a stable, heterosexual home had the best chance for success, and cited examples to back up his opinions. In addition to the pro-family piece, another student editorial countered the argument saying homosexual adoption was okay.
A homosexual parent took offense to the pro-family piece and wrote a formal complaint labeling Wegner’s opinion “hate speech” and suggesting it could “cause kids to commit suicide.”
The school district issued an official statement apologizing for Wegner’s editorial and stated that “offensive articles cultivating a negative environment of disrespect are not appropriate or condoned.” The school superintendent called the piece “bullying.”
A nonprofit public interest law firm, Liberty Counsel, has taken on Wegner’s case.
Expulsion Ruled Unconstitutional by Federal Court
In 2009, while going through her graduate-level practicum at a Michigan university, Julea Ward was assigned a client seeking to reconcile a same-sex relationship. As a Christian, Ward didn’t feel she’d be the best counselor for the case. She asked her supervisor what to do and, as a standard practice, the client was referred to another counselor.
Afterward, Ward’s university began dis-ciplinary proceedings against her and then expelled her from the program because of her religious beliefs.
Ward took her case before the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in January, and they ruled that the university violated Ward’s First Amendment rights.
The 6th Circuit court said that schools cannot force students to violate their religious beliefs.
Drivers Still Texting While Driving
Despite major media campaigns and legal restrictions in many states, texting by drivers is on the rise.
About half of American drivers between 21 and 24 years of age say they’ve texted from the driver’s seat. Most of these drivers don’t think it’s dangerous when they do it—only when other people do it.
The survey was released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
At any given moment last year, nearly one in every 100 car drivers was texting, e-mailing, or surfing the web. Those activities spiked 50 percent over the previous year.
In 2010, there were an estimated 3,000 deaths in crashes caused by driver distractions, including everything from eating to e-mailing.
Safety advocates are pushing for a national ban on texting while driving.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.