New contributor Kellie Fagan discusses some very important issues.
Mental illness surrounds us in ways we don’t even realise. Depression is a huge but silent part of so many college students lives. Stress from academic workloads can cause people to struggle to cope.
If it is so normal (as many as one in four will suffer) why can’t people talk about it? If more people felt comfortable talking to their friends about how they feel, their depression may be identified and treated earlier. This massive stigma that surrounds the words mental health and depression is baffling. It is a normal condition that can be brought on by any number of reasons, so why is it treated the way it is?
Mental health has become the leprosy of our times. People are afraid to talk about the issue in case the emotional issue will be passed onto them. This is beyond narrow-minded. This still happens on a regular basis. People need to realise that talking to people, simply saying ‘Are you alright?’ may be just what someone needs to hear. Support is crucial, whether intentional or not. We need to change this attitude of ignoring the issue. It won’t go away, it will certainly only get worse.
A great number of organisations around the country are working to help reduce this stigma. A national campaign has already begun. We need to change the mindset of the majority; from the past idea of ignoring and hoping it will disappear. No one ever wants to hear those life changing words that a friend has taken their own lives. Yet, more and more people are losing more than one. It is rare to hear of a person who has not been affected by this devastating tragedy.
One life is too many. We need to readjust our thinking, be more open to just talking to friends and asking how they feel. Our own personal thought process has to be altered. We need to be more aware of our words, our phrasing. Throwing away the issue as nothing is not working. We cannot sweep this issue under the rug. The next time you are going to say how stressed you are, think about your phrasing. Too many flippant remarks are thrown about and so many people don’t realise the potential damaging effect this can have on someone that overhears it. Common courtesy is crucial in this issue.
Any number of reasons may be the trigger, but if you don’t feel yourself or you notice a change in how you think, don’t ignore it. Head to the doctor and chat about it. You wouldn’t leave a lump unchecked, it’s the same principle. There are so many supports available to students and staff within this college alone. Outside the college, the supports are endless. A quick search on the internet will bring up any number of options.
Please talk to someone if you don’t feel right. People won’t look down on you. In fact, so many will have nothing but admiration for you for speaking up about your own health. Mental and physical health should be treated and looked after in equal parts. As a whole, society needs to change how we think, so let’s start the change with ourselves. Think about it and make the effort, if we all do it, we will break this stigma down.
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