More than a million people in America’s prisons and jails have behavioral health conditions. Many of them probably never needed to be there. This nation incarcerates more people than any other country on the globe, with somewhere between 6 million and 6.5 million under correctional supervision, including prisons, jails, parole, and probation. Exact estimates vary slightly, but we in the field agree that about 16% of this population has some form of significant mental illness.
More than a decade ago, I experienced severe anxiety while working for an organization that didn’t have the healthiest of cultures. The situation ultimately spiraled into a debilitating depression, which forced me to take a leave of absence from my job, which shattered my sense of self. Ambitious high achievers couldn't have depression, right?
A few decades ago, I met a 6-year-old girl from Russia. For her privacy, I’ll call her K. I saw many Russian-born children in my practice as a clinical psychologist because Russian was my first language, and I have ties to the international adoption community. In her home country, K’s early life was filled with trauma.
When was the last time you went to a park? Do you take breaks during your day to go outside? Is your home or office filled with green plants? It turns out that all of these things are good for our mental health.