unhealthy human behaviors relieved by higher emotional intelligence!

the overall mental health of Americans leaves a lot to be desired.

As do the behaviors that wreak havoc in our individual and community lives (see right column below). 

Most aberrant child, teen and adult behavior can be traced back to low emotional intelligence – the lack of the skills to manage one’s own reactions and relationships with others in a healthy way.

Now in the lingering COVID era, Americans mental health is still suffering to painful degrees, exaggerated by income and inflation issues. The Census Bureau reported last year that nearly 30% of Americans showed signs of clinical levels of depression or anxiety. 

Matters have improved somewhat since the economy improved. Still, adult and youth mental heath issues and crime remain substantially higher. Gun violence has increased, including mass shootings.

Years of studies show that most of the bleak statistics below – plus those of crime, divorce and business partnership feuds – will improve dramatically for the next generations if we start now to make EQ-raising effective personal life skills a priority in all our schools – whether called Social and Emotional Learning or well-being life skills. .

Doing so can also affect the wider population because comprehensive EQ programs at their smartest also engage parents and non-teaching staff, as well as students and teachers. And the sooner these  EQ/SEL personal life skills are household terms and a societal goal, the faster adult training in these skills will be adopted by other major sectors and institutions.  

Businesses are already moving in that direction. A huge amount of more growth is possible -and sorely needed.


here are some individual and societal pains that widespread EQ skills would mitigate.

Violence: several million children annually are victims of domestic violence – on the rise even more now, police and social workers report.  A recent national sample of U.S. children found that in the past year 60% were exposed to either violence, crime or abuse in either their homes, schools or communities . Almost 40% were direct victims of 2 or more violent acts, and 1 in 5 were victims of violence 5 or more times.  20% of students in 2019 reported bullying. 

12 million domestic partners in U.S. annually experience violence – also now increasing. U.S.: highest murder and violent assault rates of all advanced countries. 

✤ Sexual Abuse: 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys in U.S. sexually abused before age 18. 325,000 women raped a year. 1/6 of American women are raped in their lifetimes.. Self-report studies show that 20% of adult females and 5-10% of adult males recall a childhood sexual assault of sexual abuse incident. 

✤ Self-Harm:  1 in 4 teenage girls and 1 in 10 boys self-harm.  19% of overall 14-year-old girls and boys self-harm. 

✤ Mental Health:  13. 1% of youths aged 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode in 2020. In 2021 11.5% of males and 29% of females reported same. Suicide was second leading cause of death for teens and grew dramatically between 2207 and 2023,  worsening with the pandemic. Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. – 43.8 million – experience mental illness in a given year. 1 in 6 Americans take psychiatric drugs, 80% of them long-term. 

✤ Drug Usage: 58.2% of high school seniors reported they drink, and 34.9% used marijuana. 23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs – or 1 in every 10 over the age of 12 . $740 billion annually in related costs due to crime, lost work productivity and health care.

✤ Workplace: 48% of American adults report abusive experiences at work. Billions lost to workplace stress, conflict and trauma.

✤ Global Survival: In the 76 year existence of nuclear weapons, there have been two killing bombs – Hiroshima and Nagasaki – four near accidental nuclear wars because machines misread machines, and two near deliberate nuclear wars – Cuba Missile Crisis and India-Pakistan.

*Statistics based on reports from the Center For Disease Control and the Departments of Health and Human Resources and Education.

how did we do this to ourselves?

how about a lack of emotional and social education and personal life skills?