Mental health awareness needed now more than ever

Aaron Young
Staff Writer

Gunshots fired. Students frightened for their life during a lockdown drill before exiting the school with their hands in the air. Police swarming to the scene to evaluate the situation before going on a manhunt. Parent’s consoling each other and their kids. 

This scene is becoming too common in America, and in the past week, two school shootings have happened and five since November began. Lots of people have theories on why this happens, including violent movies and the dire need to make schools safer.

School shootings spark conversations between citizens who are worried not only about their children, but for their own well-being.

Many of the suspects are men who are either teens or adults but one thing that doesn’t get talked about when this happens is mental health. It’s time to face the facts America.

According to nami.org, more than 40 million Americans experience mental illness in a given year. 18 million of those experience a mental illness in their lifetime, and 10 million live with a serious case of it. In order of which condition is most prevalent, 42 million people have been diagnosed with anxiety, 16 million for depression, 6 million have bipolar disorder, and less than 3 million people deal with schizophrenia.

What’s even worse is how many people die from suicide because of these conditions. 90 percent of people who die of this mental illness is a primary reason. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

Many people, specifically teens and college kids don’t seek out help because of fear and ridicule. Overall, 60 percent of adults didn’t seek out treatment last year and from an ethnicity standpoint, minorities seek it out more.

I am going to tell you something that needs to be said, if you ever feel depressed or worse, tell somebody. It can be a family member, a close friend, counselor or if need be, experienced professionals. 

No one is going to shame you for it and if they do, it maybe they aren’t comfortable discussing these issues. Go to someone else for help and if you’re religious, then sit down with a priest or campus minister and tell them what’s going on.

I know for both men and women mental health is difficult to talk about. For men they fear their masculinity will be put into question. I can’t speak on behalf of women because I am a man, but for both genders, the shame of sharing any personal issues an obstacle for seeking help.

We need to shine a light on mental health issues and discuss it more. These school shootings and other tragic events will likely continue to happen but I hope they decrease over time. Parents talk to your kids about mental health. Teens and college students, set up an appointment with a therapist and reach out to a trusted adult. 

If all else fails call the 1-800 hotline number or a nearby crisis center and they will get you the proper help you need. Remember, you are not alone in this and if you think you are all you have to do is go back and look at the stats I laid out. 

Each person has their workload, and religiously speaking they carry their cross daily. I will end this article by saying if you have a friend, family member, or significant other who doesn’t seem right or acting out of order, ask them what’s wrong. Give them the time of day and like State Farm said, “Like a good neighbor your family is there.”

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