It is difficult to bring awareness to serious topics that affect many people daily.
Our generation as a whole has the mentality that “If it doesn’t affect me, I won’t pay attention,” because, “There’s no use in worrying or knowing about it when it won’t affect me.”
Despite people putting in great efforts to change this mentality, mental health stigmas and neglects are still severely common. While these issues may not relate to you, one day, they could; whether it be through one of your friends or even your own child. As a society, we need to become educated on how to cope with and learn about the mental health issues others face.
There are plenty of factors that contribute to additional challenges young people face. A few examples are helicopter parenting, social media, technology, and the standards set by both the economy and globalization. Some people feel societal pressures to make children and young adults feel special (unofficially known as the “participation ribbon debate”), while others feel that we need to show them the raw truth to make them stronger and more prepared for the future.
By sheltering today’s youth from the harsh realities of life, we will only make the shock of adulting more detrimental in their lives.
We don’t discuss these things — competitive college applications and jobs, student debt, and difficulties finding suitable employment to fulfill financial needs.
It’s important to teach people how to be resilient in these low times that these issues and other things that trigger mental illness cause. We cannot reduce the mental health stigma by burying our heads in the sand. We need to acknowledge these difficulties in order to help others achieve the success we want for them.
As a society, (and to be good people), we must take it upon ourselves to face the growing mental health challenges others tackle. If you are unsure how to start conversations to help educate yourself and learn about others, try using prompted questions during particularly confusing or hard times.
While watching a show or movie that discusses mental health or other problems our youth faces, ask, “Have you ever felt this way?”
“Do you know friends who have talked about this? Is it really this common of an issue?”
If you are really unsure of what to say when someone confides in you, and you feel unequipped or unprepared for the intense subject matter that may come as shocking or hard to understand, just ask, “Would you like me to help you find a counselor to help you receive the help you need?” That way, if your friend is OK with it, you can also attend sessions to help learn about how mental illness affects your friend.
As a society, we shouldn’t rely on entertainment to educate others about mental illness.
We need to acknowledge these mental health problems exist and help others through the issues they may face. You may not be able to relate to the conversations about mental illness and you may not fully believe how your friends feel, but no one should ever discredit how someone else feels. Silence and ignorance does nothing for our generation. Don’t wait to become inspired to educate yourself on how to help others until someone needs you. Educate yourself in the event you or a loved one needs your help with mental illness.
Compassion will never go unnoticed or unneeded.