Have you ever noticed someone who was constantly fidgeting or wouldn't make direct eye contact with you? What about someone who is constantly looking in the mirror, obsessing over what they should look like? You just may have witnessed someone with anxiety, anorexia, depression, ADD, or other issues. They, in fact, could be suffering from mental illness.
Mental health is the condition of a person's psychological and emotional well-being. Are you aware that 25% of the people in the world will develop a mental disorder at some point in their lifetime? Approximately 19% of the adult population currently suffers from some sort of mental illness. Mental illness affects approximately 46% of teenagers and 13% of children in the U.S. each year.
Did you know any of these facts? Is it still not ringing a bell?
The scariest thing about mental illness are not the statistics. The most horrific part is that it’s so hidden. Often, when mental illness is brought out into the limelight, it is viewed as abnormal by society. In fact, it’s so concealed that 67% of the individuals battling it, will never seek help. It’s about time that we shed some light on the importance of mental health and stop the stigma associated with mental health disorders.
I believe that ALL people have the right to be treated with humanity and respect. People struggling with their mental health may be in your family, live in your neighborhood, go to your church, or work in the same building as you.
We live in a society that puts up a front about how we should look, feel, and act. If we don’t fit that “mold,” then we feel like we have failed ourselves or don’t fit in with the rest of society. People are frightened of being portrayed as weak and have a hard time asking for help. This is the main reason why 67% of those individuals choose not to get help, because of the stigma that WE as Americans have placed upon them.
By now you may be asking yourself, “What can I possibly do to help?” The answer is straightforward. Be accepting of others! Yes, it sounds simple. That’s because it is! Just by showing individuals respect, acceptance, and taking the time to listen to them, you will provide helpful support. Having others see you as a person and not as an illness can make a monumental difference for someone who is struggling with their mental health.
If you are suffering, talk to a trusted friend or adult. Know that you are not alone. Remember, ladies and gents, your illness does not define you! Your strength and courage does! Let’s end the stigma.