How many carefully targeted programs for mental health support and positive employment, which for the most part fail, will it take to admit what is already realized -- poor mental health cannot be avoided. Dealt with more effectively? Absolutely. But an air-tight solution to dealing with this, as has been pointed out repeatedly, is virtually impossible. It could be mitigated significantly, but, again, as has been pointed out repeatedly, the first and primary line of defense lies with family and friends. Until this root cause is somehow resolved, we will have a 'that horse has already left the barn' situation.
A community may be poor, but priority of its schools should take precedence. Unfortunately, even with county/state (and soon, federal) governments providing funding, it is still primarily the local community's obligation to provide resolution. When people don't invest their own sweat into something, when something is just given to them, human nature tends to cause them to not respect (and care for) it.
There is a common thread here. Most people know what it is, but, like social security, it's another political third rail.
Those programs fail because they aren't seen through or incompetently run by non-experts like appointed officials. Local governments change, abandon or halve funding halfway through programs, and that's why they don't succeed. Everyone who has seen local organizations first hand and talked to their employees understands this. Turning a neighborhood around takes minimum 15-20 years of sustained and competent programmatic efforts. There are many case studies of success out there - look in to them and you'll see they all feature this.
'The first and primary line of defense lies with family and friends' is a false start when those individuals themselves have to deal with the conditions of poverty. People usually don't have the time and ability to properly address mental problems in the home when working two+ jobs or dealing with the day to day stress of living in a high-crime area.
As for education, as you well know the lion's share of funds in our nation come from local property taxes. Time and again in both blue and red states, high tax revenue areas usually don't want funds redirected to areas with low property values to improve their schools and vote as such. It's easy to say 'schools should take precedence', but that's very difficult to actually do with limited local government resources in poverty stricken areas. Clearly you've never actually seen the budgets in these areas or seen what quotes for correcting twelve+ years of deferred maintenance looks like in a BOE hearing.
Exactly how is a neighborhood turned around? Can you provide some examples? Oh, I see. It takes time, plenty of time. And you know it is inevitable that ‘a minimum 15-20 years of sustained and competent programmatic efforts’ is never going to happen, so the well-meaning ‘programmaticers’ will retire with a nice pension, regardless of not achieving original goals (yes, governments are known to reward failure).
Actually, I was a three-term trustee in a large village (pop. 50K+) and had many meetings with our local consolidated school district’s BOE. I know exactly what a well-functioning school district should and can do. As a longtime BBBS volunteer in a very large city, I have had an opportunity to attend annual school board meetings. The budgets are presented in the form of, much like Boeing did with MCAS, ‘Jedi Mind Tricks.’ If you are ever involved with the BOE of a very large city with plans to influence the adoption of substantive, badly needed changes, you are likely in for a big disappointment. Of course, if you have the ability to actually influence politically motivated BOE and union officials, I’m sure President Biden will gladly ask Miguel Cardona to step aside so a bona fide expert can finally show us how it’s done.
It takes a village, Aaron, an ENTIRE village. Everyone must contribute. If everyone does not contribute (effort, not $$$) the village has no hope of succeeding. There is a huge roadblock in the way. Millions of words are used in an attempt to define causes and solutions, but as for the former, I know (as do most everyone) it is (initials only): ID. You’re a bright guy – have at it.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty.
As a society, we are all to blame in ne way or another. Throwing a rock will have a better chance of hitting someone who is ignoring the truth.