We Need to Destigmatize Mental Health

We Need to Destigmatize Mental Health

Meleah York, Assistant Editor

It all starts with a tweet to get me going. At first I press the “retweet with comment” button, and draft out a rant. I delete that, then draft out an educated response. I end up pressing the X in the top left corner. It’s not worth it, and they don’t deserve that attention anyway. So what do I do? Destroy their position completely in a school newspaper article.

As someone who suffers from anxiety myself and has close friends who suffer from depression, seeing a tweet that says “It’s impossible for the seeds of anxiety and depression to take root in a heart that is grateful” increases my rage level by at least 68 percent. After taking a step back to fully analyze this tweet, here are my thought-out rebuttals, rage-free.

Emotions are separate from mental illness, and that is a fact. Are there days where you feel more sad or anxious than usual? Of course. But for those who suffer from mental illness, it takes over their life, as in constant anxiety about everything, or constant sadness and dark thoughts controlling their brain.

Mental illnesses are not something that can be controlled by having “a heart that is grateful.” I’m grateful for those around me, my friends and family, and also for being in a position of love and support from those people.

I’m grateful for my extracurricular activities and achievements I have made. I’m grateful to have a roof over my head and not having to worry about where my next meal is coming from. But the chemicals in your brain and traumatic past experiences aren’t controlled by your heart “not being grateful enough.”

Mental illness is a widespread issue that affects so many people around the world, but it’s being stigmatized as this easily preventable thing that you have the power of controlling. Many people have to seek therapy or take medication to help with their mental illness, because it’s not something based on being a selfish person or not.

The idea that someone isn’t a good person because they are mentally ill is so toxic to those who feel alone in their struggle with something that can’t just be turned on and off. If we continue to normalize things like depression and anxiety, we’re preventing people from getting the help necessary for them to healthily function.


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