Editorial: Mending Mental Health

Posts on social networks and certain sites on the Internet that may trigger negative emotions to a reader are beginning to be tagged with the words “trigger warning”. Those articles normally involve rape, substance abuse and violence.

Yet, although the country is apt to adapt to the needs of those suffering from past traumas, concerns and cares of many different “trigger warnings” on the Internet, it seems not to do so with certain situations in real life.

Many people who have gone through a form of tragedy in their life, whether it be any of the warnings above or one not listed, have in turn been burdened with some type of mental illness. While it has been commonplace among the years to use tags of mental illness as lines of banter between friends, the behavior has to be put to rest.

Joking that “you’re depressed” or asking your friend if they throw up after they eat in a mocking tone doesn’t do anything for the negative stigma mental health has in today’s culture.

According to ABC News, one in five Americans suffer from a mental illness. Out of those, only 60 percent get treatment.

Whether that be anxiety, depression, self-harm or any other form, there’s no dodging around the fact that people, especially college kids, with a mental illness don’t get as much help as they need.

Why is that? Resources are becoming more available. YSU offers free services for students, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. More counselors are being hired so that more students can have access to professional help when they need it.

Many insurances also cover the cost of an off-campus therapist or other mental health professional, at least for a few appointments.

The issue lies in how people with a mental illness feel they are perceived. In a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2007, only 25 percent of adults with mental health symptoms believed that people are caring and sympathetic to those with mental illnesses.

Compare that with the 57 percent of adults without mental health symptoms that believe people are caring and sympathetic to those who have mental illnesses, and the case for mental health misconceptions grows.

There is a significant gap between how people with mental health issues are viewed and how they feel they are viewed. The population generally agrees that individuals with mental health symptoms greatly benefit by seeking out professional help.

The CDC also said that 78 percent of adults with mental health symptoms and 89 percent of adults without agreed that treatment can help people with a diagnosed mental illness to lead normal lives.

The good news is that changing the perception of how people with mental illness think that others view them is something that can be fixed.

Talking openly about mental illness and the stigmas that they carry is the first and most important step in the right direction.

If the gap of how people feel they are seen and how they really are is reduced or closed, those who suffer with undiagnosed mental illnesses will be more open to seeing a professional about their problems. Even if there is only a small increase in the amount of people that seek help because of a reduction in how they feel others view them, it will still be considered a victory.

Mental health is present, it can be fixed and it’s okay to talk about it openly. The more open the lines of communication, the better.

The editorial board that writes editorials consists of the editor-in-chief, the managing editor, the copy editor, and the news editor. These opinion pieces are written separately from news articles. They draw on the opinions of the entire writing staff and do not reflect the opinions of any individual staff member. The Jambar’s business manager and non-writing staff do not contribute to editorials, and the advisor does not have final approval.

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