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Mental health awareness: How it holds more importance than people think

Sofia Coulibaly

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Lots of money, friends and a comfortable living situation. Those qualities are great, however, they won’t eliminate peoples’ burdens and only provide temporary happiness. Regardless of someone’s age, gender, financial status or background, it’s still possible to struggle with problems like depression, anxiety and many other mental issues, contrary to the opinions others might have.

Many people face these emotional issues on a daily basis. Some of these problems are recognized, but  people aren’t getting the help that they need by professionals, while others feel alone – as if they can’t trust anyone enough to confide in them for emotional support. This concealment of emotions doesn’t make things any better, usually resulting in symptoms worsening.

Although people state that they pay attention to those in need of help, it can be very hard to notice the signs of someone having mental health issues until something severe happens, considering the fact that some are able to get away with harming themselves for very long periods of time.

Society has its own ways of handling mental illness, however, some students are skeptical of these methods. “I feel like some issues are being mishandled, such as depression,”  Amisha Baidya, a freshman at NYC iSchool, stated. “People are quick to say they have a mental illness, and use it as an excuse for reasonable matters, such as feeling down for two days or less.” Amisha believes that people undermining mental illnesses like that is disrespectful to those who actually have to go through the pain of dealing with them, and thinks that things could be done differently, in a more respectful way.

However, change doesn’t come easily, it happens over time, and first, people need to think of what society can do in order to fix itself, and become a more open-minded and accepting place. Micah Gomez, a freshman, believes that in order for change to be made, people need to realize that mental illness is “real, and that it’s something many people have to deal with.” She states that mental health “needs to be talked about more often” so that society has a better understanding of it.

Diana Montes, another NYC iSchool freshman, thinks that people should try raising awareness through platforms that they have access to, and commonly use in their everyday life. “Since our society is pretty much based on social media, I think that it would be a good start,” she stated. Many people nowadays use social media to post various types of content, from all around the world.

In some cultures, mental illness is seen as more taboo, and people who struggle with them aren’t taken seriously or aren’t given proper professional help. Social media is capable of breaking these barriers surrounding the perception of mental illness, even in areas that are “conservative” and where “people don’t talk about it,” according to Diana. The fact that social media is looked up to globally, definitely makes it a relevant way to bring attention to the importance of mental health.

Although society still has a long way to go, the stigma around mental illness has been decreasing over time, and more people are paying attention to those dealing with them. Mental illnesses are a serious thing, and the best thing to do if you know someone suffering from them is being open to listening to their thoughts and being there for them when they need it. “Mental illness needs to be normalized instead of romanticized,” Micah stated. Instead of stereotyping mental illness, people need to realize that it’s something that’s dealt with often, and that it’s very real.

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Mental health awareness: How it holds more importance than people think