It becomes extremely easy to comment on the perils, actions, attitudes and behaviors of a neighborhood – especially one with a complex history like Austin.

It is too simple to point fingers at elected officials, residents or police.

Other commentators and journalists have been pointing out the right and wrong for years, but not much has changed.

I could go on and on about white T-shirt-wearing, block-hugging black men. I could talk for days about irresponsible parenting and lack of birth control.

And there is so much to be said about the miss-education of our children.

There is a part of a generation that seeks to emulate pop culture. There are adult African-American women running around calling themselves “Barbies.” And there are boys whose dreams are to become the next “Lil Wayne.”

Time and time again I ask myself, “What the f- are they thinking?”

No, really, what is the psychology of today’s generation?

There isn’t a direct answer to this, I know.

But I am aware that some of these behaviors are coping mechanisms to living in poverty. After being immersed in psychology books for two semesters, I understand that symptoms of certain psychological disorders manifest differently in different people.

I could argue that desensitization to violence has contributed to the number of African Americans being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I could also argue that desensitization greatly affects what urban-dwelling African-Americans deem as a crisis.

I would stand to say that the historically spiritual aspect of African Americans has contributed to stigmatizing psychiatric services. But many of the churches are not equipped or trained to deal with mental issues.

Or maybe the mistrust of the entire system leads African Americans not to seek counseling.

I hear people on the street say things like “she is bipolar” or “he is schizophrenic.”

And truth is, maybe they are.

But what probably keeps them from seeking help as opposed to self-medicating is the idea that some folk will label them as “crazy.”

There are many disorders where medication isn’t needed, but sometimes psychoactive drugs along with psychotherapy are highly recommended.

I’m not qualified to diagnose anyone as of yet, and that is not even the primary goal. The goal is to be able to assess the attitudes, behaviors and actions of people, and to help create a sustainable method of intervention or set of goals as part of a team-oriented treatment plan.

I don’t want to continue to point the finger. I really want to help people.

austintalks.org@gmail.com