In modern society, mental health is still something that is rarely talked about and those who suffer are often shamed. This is seen in celebrities with alarming frequency, with one of the biggest examples being Britney Spear’s mental breakdown in 2007. In order to make those who struggle with mental illness feel less alone and ashamed, it is important for people to start talking about mental health more openly, stop making suicide jokes, and for teachers and bosses to be more accepting to those with mental health issues.
Talking about mental health openly can be incredibly difficult, but even something as small as “oh, I’m actually meeting with my therapist after school” or “I'm worried about switching new meds; I hope everything goes smoothly!”. These short and casual comments can help depressed people feel like less of an outsider for taking meds or seeing a therapist. These comments can make people feel less alone.
Casual suicide jokes (i.e. “I have so much homework tonight I want to kill myself”) make people with histories of depression or suicidal thoughts feel inconceivably awful. These remarks may not have cruel intentions, but they can bring up incredibly dark memories and trauma for those struggling with depression. For too many people, suicidal thoughts are not a joke. People brave through weeks and months of sleepless nights and not feeling safe in their own body. Throwing suicide thoughts around as something to be laughed at is belittling the sometimes crippling struggle of depression and bringing up trauma that can be too much of a weight to bear.
Not only can mental health stigma be reduced among peers, but it can also be decreased by an increased acceptance from teachers and bosses. “Mental health days” should not be seen as a sign of weakness. Mental health leaves and mental health learning plans should become the norm. When one has the flu or mono, they are expected to take time off of work and school to get better, and mental health should be treated no differently.
11/15/2017 11:38:39 am
I understand that therapy is a common solution but what do therapists do exactly? What are their strategies for helping people with mental illness.
11/15/2017 11:39:14 am
When a friend mentions something about their depression or mental health, what is the best way to respond?
1/17/2018 10:43:54 pm
I think the best way to respond is to just simply say something like, “I’m so sorry for your struggle and I hope you know that I am here for you always.”
11/15/2017 11:39:47 am
I think the idea of having days off to improve mental health, as you would if you had the flu or a more physical illness, is a cool idea and should be implemented.
11/15/2017 11:43:53 am
1/17/2018 10:42:39 pm
Yes, I agree. In a perfect world, I think mental health should be talked about just as much as physical health.
11/15/2017 11:41:37 am
What do you think about growing trend of being sad? By that I mean t-shirts that say stuff like "Sad Kids Club" and "Stay Sad". Do you think that it's leading to the glamourization of depression?
11/15/2017 11:45:00 am
I think that the point about suicide jokes is really important. I hear those kinds of jokes a lot, and they've become really normalized. I don't think I really considered how they would affect people who had or have depression
11/15/2017 11:49:20 am
I agree. This is an issue that people brush off, but it is really important
1/17/2018 10:41:52 pm
Katie!!! It’s Sophie Smith!! I just found this blog and I am so proud of you. I have struggled with anxiety and OCD for my whole life, and I am now trying to do a similar thing to you in that I’m trying to make it more normal to talk about mental health. In a dream world, mental health should be talked about just as much and casually as physical health. Thank you so much for creating this blog- it’s going to help a hell of a lot of people. You are awesome!!! (Also I miss you ❤️)
1/17/2018 10:52:05 pm
Hey Sophie! Thank you so much for the support I really appreciate it. I miss you too!
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