Is the Destruction of our Families Fostering Mental Illness?

Lisa May Executive Director, Live the Life South Florida

In the light of current events, our entire country is collectively moving through the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and inevitably for some, acceptance. While the motivating factors are different, the overarching question resounds in the same outcry: WHY? Why must the innocent, our children, be the object of suffering and hatred?

When we blow away the chaff, what’s left is the family or the lack thereof. 

What defines families?

While the world defines family in many ways, the Biblical definition has remained the same: two parents, a father and a mother, guiding children through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. Just as the quote, so goes the city so goes the country, the same is true, so goes the family so go the children. Although divorces certainly have their causes, it’s clear through multiple case studies that the short and long-term effects are numerous and prolific, perhaps more prolific than most couples anticipate. Divorce rates were 25% in 1965; today, we’re closer to 50% and higher for 2nd and 3rd marriages. While the levels ebb and flow, the introduction of no-fault divorce in 1969 allowed couples to get divorced without stated cause, making the process less complicated and much more accessible.


The benefits of marriage

With that in mind, let’s consider the benefits of remaining married from a statistical and historical point of view. Children living in nuclear families — families consisting of two married adults who are the biological or adoptive parents of all children in the family — were generally healthier, more likely to have access to health care and less likely to have definite or severe emotional or behavioral difficulties than children living in nonnuclear families. Children in nuclear families are generally less likely than nonnuclear families to be in good, fair or poor health; to have a primary action disability, learning disabilities or ADHD. 

If those of us considering divorce were well informed on our choices’ effects on our children’s development, perhaps we would be more likely to consider mediation practices, biblical counseling and therapy to restore and redeem our relationships. 


Mental health

familiesIn 2019, the U. S. Secret Service studied mass shooters, and 71% of those surveyed came from fragmented homes, 59% had an abusive situation, with only 23% having a history of mental health issues. Yet, the media proclaims mental health as the primary cause over and over again. The mass population is not born with clinical mental health issues; they evolve with outside influence. Extended isolation creates mental health issues, which is why it’s used as an interrogation tactic. The problem developed due to the environment; it wasn’t congenital. We also focus on bullying as a primary cause of mental health issues. Suppose a child is from a home where parents actively dive into their children’s lives. In that case, they can speak about the cause and effects of bullying and circumvent many of the disastrous long-term consequences of it going unnoticed and unattended.

It’s easier to focus on these symptoms because they are the things we can diagnose and put band-aids on, rather than going into the deeper problem of marriage and family because that makes us all individually accountable for our actions and choices. People don’t want to go back and revisit the pain of their own decisions. As a result, massive amounts of money are poured into foster care, poverty, human trafficking prevention, etc. These societal ills aren’t diminishing – they have generated huge industries that focus their efforts on addressing them. The band-aids are vastly administered, but the overall need continues to grow. We’re building more prisons and need more foster homes.


Widespread divorce

According to the 2019 National Household Education Survey, U.S. Dept of Education, 47% of high school seniors weren’t living with both biological parents. 

About 1.5 million children experience the divorce of their parents each year — ultimately 40% of all children, 20-25% suffer significant adjustment problems as teenagers, with the negative impact often persisting into adulthood and resulting in two times the normal prevalence of mental health problems and impaired education attainment, as well as impaired socioeconomic and family well-being.

While mental health is the platform where many land, if we were honest in evaluating the evolution of what creates the “mental health” crisis and proactive about investing in our marriages, we would positively impact generations of children and families. This is why God hates divorce.


I often hear that children have changed. It’s not the children that have changed; it’s us, as the parents.


Live the Life South Florida exists to strengthen marriages and families through healthy relationship education, beginning in middle school through senior adults. We are educators, coaches, and pastoral counselors. If you’re looking for a clinical counselor or therapist, we are blessed to have many in the South Florida community.  We’d be honored to provide you a list of highly qualified and reputable individuals. Visit

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