a public health crisis
Mental health is not just a major public health issue - it's quite possibly the most important global health issue of our time. The numbers are staggering. As many as 1 in 2 Americans has experienced a mental health condition, and one in three disabled Americans is suffering from a serious and persistent mental illness. Three in five Americans suffering from a mental health condition cannot afford to pay for treatment.
Considering the state of our society, this isn't surprising. As social mores and values break down, people take refuge in materialism and hedonistic pleasures. Our economy reflects it through rising inflation and workplaces that have become hotbeds of narcissistic and sociopathic behavior. Increasingly isolated, we take ever less interest in each other, indifferent to those whose status doesn't measure up.
Above all, mental illness is culturally created. Overwhelmingly, it is poverty and alienation that creates conditions like depression or schizophrenia. Historically, communities that were racially, sexually, or biologically marginalized suffered high rates of mental illness; today, mental illness tends to strike those who are marginalized politically, religiously, and socially as well.
In a society dominated by mass media and enslaved to a paycheck, one thing is for certain: anybody who stands in opposition to the dominant narrative of materialism, eugenics and blind euphoria is susceptible to these conditions.
As our society continues to evolve intellectually, questions of mental health and consciousness become increasingly important. The public policy of the future will be shaped by how well we understand the mindsets of those who think differently from us, and our social fabric will continue to be shaped by our capacity for mutual empathy. Our cultural obsession with happiness will give way to a more nuanced understanding of the role of sorrow in allowing us to live empathically.
Grey Priestess Press is excited to publish the work of writers who wrestle with mental health concerns in their writing. We are committed to raising awareness of the ways in which mentally ill people chart new ground in the naming and resolution of new dimensions of human knowing. Through the shamanic work of grappling with the taboo, we claim "crazy" as a new and important iteration of the impetus to community healing.