The One Very Simple Reason Why Mental Health Matters

Suicide is a sensitive subject. But it needs to be addressed. A LOT. More than ever. You can say it’s like that because of celebrities taking their own lives and it causing a media frenzy, but it’s much bigger than that. The depression rate is very high, and so is the suicide rate. Everywhere. I am really glad so many people in social media and even Hollywood are coming forward and letting out their inner demons to the public. No matter how famous someone is, they have feelings. Today’s growing number of honest celebrities are living (and I emphasize the word “living”) proof that you don’t need to always grow “thick skin” or “a pair” to get by, even in the entertainment industry, though we still have a long way to go. And that last statement brings me back to the main topic of this post. Stopping stigma is one thing, but shifting our attitudes toward mental well-being needs a major revolution, especially here in the United States. I am still hearing people using terms like “man up” to this day. A year ago, when I was volunteering at a private school for disabled children, I witnessed a staff member shame a girl when she was about to cry by saying, “C’mon, you can’t be getting upset. You’re a big girl now.” I rreaalllly wanted to tell the staff member off in front of everyone, because that is straight up unacceptable, not just in my book. It is unacceptable PERIOD. The same can be said for far more extreme cases involving suicide. A couple years ago, I noticed a pop culture related video that addressed breaking news over a semi-famous girl who had a fight with Chris Brown (you know, the dude that assaulted Rihanna and yet people still love the guy SMH) and then attempted to kill herself. Did people try to help her out? Well she lived, but the answer is still no. All of the comments I saw on this video (ALL of them, not just half) and other videos on the same subject went a little something like this…
“Suicide is a selfish act”
“Threatening suicide is childish and is just crying for attention (not help)”
“God don’t like ugly”
“Anyone that kills themselves goes to hell automatically”
I saw the same bullshit responses to DJ Envy’s story for threatening suicide and then being sent to the “crazy house”. In addition, everyone was talking about how he is “all in his feelings” and his “feminine ways” are because he is “light skinned”.
To sum it up, shaming suicide is bad enough, but the biggest problem here is the way the majority of people in this world still treat mental health. Does society have to be dominated by this ridiculous idea that the strong endure all of life’s obstacles by bottling up their emotions? Do we still have to live with this sexist attitude that masculinity is determined not by genetics or having a dick alone, but also by acting tough, having zero sensitivity and not giving a shit about feelings? Whether females are scientifically more fragile or not is beside the point. Real strength comes from not being afraid to let out what is bothering you and not faking a smile to give a “good impression”. But we can’t have that automatically if everyone is so invalidating and will most likely tell you to suck it up or accuse you of having a “pity party”. The more people are afraid of opening up, the more fragile they become inside and the more likely they may down the road, think of ending their life. That is not an exaggeration in these times. Medication cannot solve everyone’s problems by itself. Neither can expensive therapy that may be helpful but may also make the problem worse. You shouldn’t have to go through all of that trouble just to blow off some steam. If something is bothering you, no matter what it is, IT IS 100% VALID.
I am so happy that there are online support groups on social media spreading the word of mental health and how it is just as important as physical health. Stressing about how depression is a legitimate mental illness and should be treated with the same level of importance as someone in a wheelchair. We work day by day striving to shift the values of society to fight stigma and the attitudes towards mental health issues, simply by talking and never stopping. At the end of the day, it really just comes down to how people treat and support each other. As cliche as it sounds, you CAN make someone’s day much brighter by simply asking them how they are doing. Not in the conventional customer service way that has zero meaning, but legitimately asking them how they are holding up and if they are suffering inside, offer to talk with them and don’t tell them not to feel a certain way about something. Whether you identify with the problem or not, the least you can do is acknowledge how they feel. You don’t need to give them a solution. Just be there and remind them how valuable they are. These simple things can save a lot of the troubles of booking appointments with PhD therapist or asking for an additional prescription. And most importantly, it can save lives. Again, no exaggeration. As cliche and corny as it sounds, it’s true. And society cannot change if we make people believe their problems don’t matter. The more people realize this, the safer the world will be, not to mention (if I may add), we will be a lot less likely to vote for a devilish scumbag like our current so-called president. Now THAT’S someone who’s selfish.

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