Fighting the stigmas

Ashley Kause, Staff Writer

She’s the girl who hides her face when walking to class because her feelings are almost too powerful to bear. He’s the boy who has scars on his arms from countless battles with his mind. They’re the faces of the future and they’re suffering tremendously.

Mental illness is a topic that tends to be widely ignored in our society. While it’s has become more talked about, many people are afraid to speak up about their experiences with illnesses such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder. This fear of judgment keeps many people from doing things that could, in the long run, help them.

Many adolescents and young adults have experiences with depression when they go through high school and college.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, one in five adults experience some sort of mental health illness in a year.

According to National Data on Campus Suicide and Depression, one in 12 U.S. college students make a suicide plan.

A major problem is that people do not reach out when they are experiencing the major emotions normally correlated with depression. Society has normalized people ignoring these feelings. It is important to remember that your feelings and experiences are valid and do not need to compare to those around you.

Even though the world is a scary place for others to share how they feel, we can make it a safe place to share on campus and around us. There are a few things that we can do to promote the emotional and mental well being of others around us:

First, talk about mental health, and don’t be afraid of it. This topic touches the lives of so many people, yet many of those people are silent. The first step is to open the doors to show others they are not alone.

You can also spend some time learning about mental health disorders, the symptoms and the stigmas associated with them. Hold yourself accountable as well as others around you to know that there is more to someone than meets the eye.

Be an advocate. Use your voice as a tool to show others that it is okay to be who they are. Fight against the stigma of mental illness by speaking truth about them. Donating and volunteering with organizations that support mental health is a great way to actively fight the stigma.

Lastly, take care of yourself and the ones around you. If you notice signs in yourself or loved ones that worry you, seek help.

It’s important to know that if someone is struggling, they need professional help. FMU has a counseling center in the student health office that is available for students free of charge to go and talk about what is going on in their lives. You can’t fix what is going on in someone’s life, but if you are worried about someone’s safety, it is best to go to a person you trust to help the individual you are worried about.

The biggest thing you can do is be there for the person in need. All of those cliché statements that I avoided saying here are true; every person matters and deserves help.

Sometimes all we need is someone to see us and be willing to help.