Sept. 4, 2020
2020 has been a whirlwind of a year for all of us and it is not over yet. From the onset of COVID-19 at the top of the year and its over-welcomed stay that has profound effects proving to last well into the foreseeable future, to the streets of cities all across America filled with protesters, riots and unrest on every level to this day. From the war of the politicians spewing crass narratives in the name of winning an election and rolling out their agenda to the heightened awareness that citizens of America are sensing economically as well as systemically as the veil is lifted from their eyes. This year, the nation has banded together and has also divided even further apart. In the era of “defund the police” and “Black Lives Matter” and all the other phrases that have spawned over the years in response to the disturbing occurrences playing out in American history, the one word that rings true in the midst of all the chaos is “Power.” We as citizens have the power to demand the changes that we see are needed to better our communities, institutions, and overall quality of our lives in all aspects.
All the aforementioned events as well as the ones unmentioned have a huge impact on the mental health of the citizens of this nation. In order to make changes of grandeur, we have to take time to tackle issues at the roots. Although the awareness of mental health has become less taboo over the years, it still remains an inconspicuous topic in the ways in which inmates are institutionalized here in America. In an interview with Damian, “Dek” Hendley, a former prison inmate, we explored mental health in the prison system and the effects it has on inmates and their transition into society.