Mental Health Awareness Should Be An Open Conversation

Angelica Tejada, Student Editor

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Brooklyn, N.Y. – Mental health has always been a conversation that many gaze over. Out of fear and misunderstanding, mental health is a subject that people would rather not talk about. Yet it is essential to express  one’s feelings and thoughts to live a healthy, peaceful life. Mental health should be a conversation that should not be shamed and should be openly accepted.  

 

Mental health is one of the largest contributing factors in one’s daily life. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.” Anxiety along with other mental health issues impact so many lives and it is a universal topic.

 

The stigma that is placed upon mental health makes these issues seem hopeless to live with. It is portrayed by society as a problem the person is to blame for. Ms. Schwarzkopf, MBHS school counselor, said, “…a lot movies [portray] people in a white padded room and their arms are strapped, where they are being restrained.” This creates a fearful outlook which, weakens the strength for people to seek out the help they need and find ways to get better. Fatema Siddiqa, MBHS senior, said, “most people believe that being mentally ill or having a mental breakdown implies one’s weakness.” Society has an automatic judgment of categorizing mental health issues with being weak or something that is damaging the person’s ability to be the best version of themselves.

 

Mental health awareness is important because it creates a clean atmosphere where the negative stigma around mental health is erased. Ms. Schwarzkopf, said, “the analogy that I always give is, if you broke your leg [you] go to the hospital, get an x-ray, and then get a cast. Mental health is just as important. The process for mental health treatment is to go to a therapist or psychiatrist or go to your school counselor and get support just the same way. Like you wouldn’t walk around with a broken leg and hope that it gets better on it’s own.” In order for one to overcome any issue or receive the correct treatment for it, the person should be living in an atmosphere where they are comfortable to express themselves. For many, their own mental health wellbeing is a journey that takes time. It may be a constant battle, and that’s why it needs to be an open conversation so that as a community there is a support system put into place.

 

School systems are massive, just imagine the change in everyone’s outlook of mental health is there was a program or system where each individual can confide in someone and get the help they need. Mara Lopez, MBHS senior, said, “the topic of mental health has [not] been properly voiced in our school. I honestly don’t know why that is but it should be something that we should start implementing in our schools.” High school in itself is a stressful time for many, with challenging classes and college getting closer everyday. In an atmosphere with students in their upper teens, it is essential to have these considerations given and to give each student the sense that they can seek help and that they are not alone. Everyone deserves support when on a journey, especially one that involves mental health.

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Mental Health Awareness Should Be An Open Conversation