By, Conor Dunleavy
October 10th is World Mental Health Day. World Mental Health Day has overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues around the world and mobilizing efforts in support of mental health.
Your overall health is at the forefront of major policy and every day life. Each year you schedule a physical to access your physical health, and whenever you fall ill you can always count on your primary physician for help. What about when your mental health is in trouble?
Sure there’s psychiatrists and psychologists that can move mountains in terms of helping someone suffering from mental illness, but it’s not viewed in the same way as physical health.
For some reason, there’s a stigma around mental health as a whole. Along with that, there’s a negative connotation directed at psychiatrists and psychologists. Why is it when someone goes to one of these doctors for help they’re looked at as weak, but when I go to the doctor because I have the flu that’s normal?
It’s not as if mental illness is something that affects 1 in 100 people, in fact it’s many more than that. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Approximately 1 in 5 (18.5%) of adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year (Numbers).
We’re not talking about a handful of people, this is a national concern affecting millions upon millions of Americans on a daily basis, and yet as a whole the issue of mental health is getting mostly ignored and brushed under the rug.
Maybe it’s because you can’t get visual evidence of the illness in the same way a physical injury or disease affects you, but just because it’s harder to see doesn’t mean we don’t try.
A change in the mentality towards mental illness can pave the thousand mile path we as a society needs to take to bring the conversation on mental health into the public eye.
Mental illness most likely effects your life more than you even realize. Just like a physical illness or disease, there is TREATMENT for mental illness. You or someone you care about can be helped with the proper channels and support. There’s no root difference between someone with mental illness and someone without. Having a mental illness, whether it be Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or any others, we’re all humans.
Our inherent differences are what make the world a unique and special place. Take today as a time to reflect on your personal health, along with those around you. You never know what someone is going through, but you can always offer to help.
Project semicolon is a movement started in 2016 whose mission statement is, “Dedicated to presenting hope and love for those who are struggling with mental illness, suicide, addiction and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love and inspire” (projectsemicolon.org). The project use of a semicolon is simple. “A semicolon is used when an author could’ve ended a sentence but chose not to. You are the author and the sentence is your life” (projectsemicolon.org).
Mental illness is not the end. Your life is not characterized by one aspect of your being, but rather your overall attributes. Talking is always an answer, never feel the need to bottle up emotions, you never know who else may be feeling similarly.
Numbers, By The. “NAMI.” : National Alliance on Mental Illness. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Oct. 2016.