Op-Ed

Op-Ed

There has always been a disturbing glorified view of depression and anxiety. It is as if there is an admiration for those who have said mental illnesses with the numerous quotes about it floating around the Internet. This stems from the stigma that surrounds the two commonly seen mental illnesses. Although the stigma around it may differ around the world, it is still harmful in all ways. From what I have seen in my own environment, it appears that Americans seem to put those with depression and anxiety up on a pedestal while Asia and various other places shun those with mental illnesses.

 

Mental illness is not as studied as we may think which leads to the main cause of stigma. People are not informed enough about the topic to make a correct judgement that is not biased. A lot of parents are currently this way, angered by their child’s suffering and not understanding the cause of it. “You have a roof over your head, food, water, and clothes on your back, what could you be so miserable about?” My mother would ask me these questions while tears fell down my face like a waterfall. It was then I realized that she knew nothing about depression and anxiety much like the rest of our homeland that stigmatized mental illnesses. Being informed about this issue could very much aid in the saving of a life.

 

According to a survey done in Tianjin, China, there was a large number of participants that held a negative perspective towards those with mental illness. The data also showed the lack of knowledge the general public had about the causes, treatments, and prevention of poor mental health and mental illnesses. The study brings attention to the public about the stigma surrounding mental illnesses in China. With the mostly negative attitude towards the subject, the study seeks to show people the impact of being uninformed. These people knew so little about mental health that they would shun those with mental health issues. This stigma is so harmful that people will refuse to seek help because they do not want to be an outcast within their community.

 

A similar study was done in Tanzania, Africa where teachers were given lessons about mental health. The teachers that were given these lessons were able to spot students that may be struggling with their mental health and reach out to help them. From a young age, children would spend a lot of their time in school around classmates and teachers. If teachers were able to spot out the early signs of mental distress and offer a helping hand, many students would not spiral into unhealthy mental habits. Teachers can then reach out to the student’s parents to speak on the student’s mental health. With this in mind, learning healthy coping mechanisms from a younger age can greatly impact a child’s future life. However, this would not be possible if teachers were not informed on mental health and could not provide the proper care and attention needed by these students. 

 

Although the other side of the world shuns those with mental health issues, America somehow glorifies it which is frightening to say the least. It has somehow become a trend to be depressed and anxious and there are even clothing accessories that look like razors that people use to hurt themselves. We have become so desensitized to the words “depressed” and “anxious” that we would use it casually in our day to day life. Depression and anxiety have the ability to kill without warning. We are so desensitized that when people actually mean that they are struggling, they will be brushed aside and told to “get over it.” Not only does this not help the person struggling but also fills them with guilt and makes them feel that their problems are not big enough to bring up. This causes people to bottle up and eventually, they will explode and unfortunately when some people explode, they turn to self harm. Society needs to be more informed about these issues to correctly treat them and help those in need without making them feel as if they are a burden to others. The stigma will not end if we as a society choose to turn a blind eye to these issues and in turn cost the lives of many people who believe that they cannot do it, that they cannot continue living.

 

Mental health is a very serious topic in which people need to know more about in order to help others. Humans are social creatures. We cannot survive on our own so as a society, if we were able to help each other from the bottom of our heart with no bias, our world would flourish more than it already is.

 

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