Mental Health

Emily Semlow, Staff

Tragic accidents happen to others on a daily basis, and when we see them, society cringes and looks away in disgust. We see a problem that lies on the surface of the body, our natural reactions taking over, our first thought, “Ow,” and then, “What if that happened to me?” furthering the disgust filled in our minds.

We act the same towards mental illness as we do open wounds.

If only mental illness was just as easy to identify and fix.

With that thought, you must subtract the, “What if that happened to me?” Most would never excel to that point in thought. Instead, they wonder what shapes a person to conform like this to society, blaming a person for sticking out so much in a mentally “perfect” society; these people suffering left with no control over showing the side effects. A connection in their minds simply not present, never going through their own experience, or in denial of their current situation.

A very common idea that runs through the minds of these people who can’t contain a full grasp on the situation, appears the idea of mental illness acting as an excuse for those in search of a method of manipulation or simple attention. Another common misconception is  people suffering from mental illness only ever overreact to society, and at this point, it all becomes a simple placement of fallacies in their minds. In reality, the stereotypical ideas that go towards the image of mental illness pertain no factual evidence to developing one. Most mental illnesses stem from factors having to do with biological factors (such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry), life experiences (such as trauma or a history of abuse), and/or family history of mental health problems. All factors that someone could never prevent, yet somehow society thinks can become fixable if they try hard enough.

So many people in my life live with disadvantages dealing with mental disorders from anxiety to depression, to schizophrenia and even PTSD. Mental health is a topic in America that makes people uncomfortable and more times than most, situations are handled poorly. This leads to a level of verbal abuse, furthering an issue that could have been helped earlier on. I want to notify those with mental health issues, so they understand that they are not the problem. Mental health is a real issue that’s growing and has been pushed aside or poorly represented for too long.

Mental illness strikes hard and the public underestimates the issue.

“Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US. It accounts for the loss of more than 41,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide” (2).

And did you know that, “one in five American adults experienced a mental health issue; one in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression” (2)?

Mental illness is defined as an altering perspective that, “refers to a wide range of mental health conditions- disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors. Many people have mental health concerns from time to time” (1), With this definition and those facts in mind, attempt to define a widespread problem. Attempt to define inhumane treatment towards others. People with mental illnesses are only pushed in our society, bullied and abused, the “weak” and “attention seeking”. Perhaps if we were to change our outlook and understand that this is more than a simple open wound that, with the right doctors, can heal quickly, leaving no scars or trace it was ever there before, our minds can pertain the same treatment and help.

Mental illness, a wound that lies much deeper than the skin, and can only be helped if we choose to support instead of segregate those who hide in their own shadows of depression; well too masked for some to see, yet never hidden from all. And those who do notice, need the initiative to reach out and pull yet another victim from this shadow and help them stitch up their wounds that society looks away from. Maybe then, we can all think, “Ow.”

The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the various authors and forum participants on this web site do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of The Wigwam or official policies of The Wigwam.