You are not dumb!
– The End
If you follow this blog, you know that I sometimes share about The Core FOUR Sequence and what it means to my purpose (assist in ending gun violence). What I haven’t done is explain where I see its role in the larger story of mental health in this country. The thought of explaining this became necessary lately after people began asking me for information about the sequence. But when I explain that the learning approach of this model and sequence embraces the Socratic Method (dialogue-learning) to engage more of the critical thinking of the learner, people don’t understand why.
We have trained our youth and population to have solutions handed to them including answers to educational inquiries. Our internet generation can find the answers for things in a snap, no need for any intellectual rigor. And I get it, when I view it from a world-of-work sense – businesses want money so they sell efficiencies and people want more time so they desire quick fixes. But when dealing with the mind, should it be so?
The necessity for having The Core FOUR Sequence learning framed in this way is found in the story of the Mental Health initiative in America.
The Broad Story Of Mental Health in America
The term Mental health was birthed in the name of a legislation after World War II – The National Mental Health Act of 1946.
Three years later The National Institute of Mental Health was formed, funded by the federal government and headed up by Dr Robert Felix who believed that the prevention and the promotion of positive mental health was possible.
Both the Act and the Institute cleared the way to shut down state mental hospitals and create community centers that were independent to the states in which they were operating. This lack of mandated federal/state/local communication, the expanding of mental disorders in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) and independent providers choosing their own case load, allowed for the severely mentally ill patients to fall through the cracks and unto the streets. What started off as a good idea lacked real integrated support on the ground and caused unforeseen consequences (i.e. imprisonment of the severely mental ill). And what that implies is that crime increased. You can read about this story’s arc here – Community Mental Health Policy in America: Lessons Learned.
In 1946 we began with a $150 million dollar budget, today the budget for mental health is billions of dollars, yet a 2003 George W Bush’s Freedom Commission on Mental Health reported that the mental health system, in terms of its integrative capabilities, were still unorganized and fragmented (pg. 28). People were falling through the cracks. In 2015, Congress stepped up and passed the Mental Health Reform Act of 2015, that incentivizes the creation of integrative capabilities and creates a committee specifically to oversee the work being done for the severely mentally ill.
How well that is working? We’ll find out next year, because the committee overseeing the severely mentally ill has to report their strategic plan every 3 years. Unfortunately, anecdotally, what the public sees is the military vets suffering with severe mental problems, others being imprisoned yet college age kids seemingly are getting quicker mental care while portions of the public categorizes their mental issues as a fragile mentality but far from severe.
Perversely the provision of psychological support as the default solution for helping first-generation students is likely to intensify their quest for validation. Instead of developing their power of resilience it may well heighten their sense of vulnerability. (read full article here)
The jails and prisons are undoubtedly playing the custodial role for some of our severely mentally ill and the justice system is not functionally equipped to deal with that population in terms of a therapeutic nature. That’s the mental health system’s role.
The goals for the severely mentally ill to recover into positive mental health, the moderately mentally functioning to learn coping mechanisms, and the working public to sustain themselves there, is a daunting and extremely comprehensive task. Those goals need deep research and understanding of the nature of genes, household structures, neighborhoods, available care, health, friends, schools, jobs, personalities etc.
Overwhelmed yet? These are the issues that our professional psychologists have to think through yearly.
So within the scope of everything the Mental Health Profession has committed to affect, where do I fit in?
My View of the Mental Health Field
Within the world of Mental Health there are two operations: Preventative and Recovery.
This operation is seen through educational programs (ex. sharing knowledge of symptoms, coping strategies, self-awareness etc). This can be done by general educators. Preventative measures are also noticed especially within schools as early identification and intervention by school administration. This level is where marketing and promotions for mental health awareness are, as well as research for medical intervention, searching for the biological basis for disorders and best practices in therapy.
This operation is activated because someone is already in a full blown mental disorder. This level calls for specialized expertise/mental health professionals to aid in the recovery process into better mental states through the use of both medicines and psychotherapy.
What I have to offer touches probably 1% of the scope of mental health services. My contribution to the continuing story of Mental Health in America is through the operations of preventative measures, specifically education. I am a general educator.
The Core FOUR Sequence
My contribution to the field is The Core FOUR Sequence (C4S). This model fits easily into the national mental health educational sphere because of its simplicity. It’s memorable and repeatable – two main building blocks for any kind of learning. Through Socratic philosophical questioning and critical thinking you’ll find neuroscience insights, psychological understandings and philosophical musings guiding the opening of one’s mental faculties to understand why certain strategies would work. And it all begins with the simple question:
“Can you move without activating your Core FOUR Sequence?”
I heard Rory Sutherland (a behavioral economist) once quip that it is rare to find a model on which isolated insights from a knowledge-base can hang. I believe that the C4S is such a model.
Regardless of your temperament or personality, your core four exists. That is to say, whether you’re Good or Bad, Conscientious or Neurotic, ISFP or ENTJ, The Peacemaker or The Individualist etc, in order for us to move we ALL must activate our Core FOUR Sequence. While personalities can change across time and circumstances, the framing of the C4S doesn’t. The framework allows for people to understand the actual levers of their functionality and makes it great to use from an educational perspective.
So, no America, you are not dumb! You don’t need to give away portions of your critical thinking waiting for research to tell you who you are and what you can do when you already have the framework embedded in you for self-responsibility. This simple model reveals a sequence to manage and when taught, is able to educate our youth in preventative strategies for their positive mental health. The C4S assists you in doing that precisely.
This isn’t a new discovery, I merely shifted our attention to what was already showing.
© 2018, Ira Webbe Jr, all rights reserved