Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day. September 10th allows us to break the stigma of mental health. Even though we live in a seemingly progressive society, openly discussing mental illness and suicide is still considered taboo. People experiencing such issues feel alone, and the stigma surrounding this topic worsens their condition. As a result, we should all strive to talk more openly about our struggles, whatever they might be.
A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that around 70% of people struggling with mental illness globally don’t receive any help. This high percentage stems from the fact that openly admitting to struggling with mental health is seen as a weakness.
Individuals from all races and genders can experience mental health problems. From anxiety to severe depression, mental illness doesn’t pick and choose — it affects everyone the same. Therefore, we should all strive to end the stigma surrounding talking about our mental health. After all, it can save lives.
Many people suffer in silence. Males are told to ‘man up.’ Women’s problems are accredited to PMS. Certain cultures don’t even believe in mental illness — after all, it’s all in your head, right? The problem with such thinking though is that it minimizes people’s feelings and emotions. It makes them feel as if what they experience is ‘not a big deal’ and they should simply be stronger. And ultimately, that can lead to them taking an irreversible step.
Not being able to talk about your struggles makes you feel unworthy, less than. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation and letting someone know they’re not alone. That their feelings are valid.
Too many people take their lives in our society even though there are so many ways to prevent that. These days, there are hundreds of resources we can use depending on what we need. From national lifelines to licensed therapists, there is a solution for everyone — as long as we choose to talk about it.
Asking for help can be a daunting task. But it’s also a display of courage. That’s why we should all encourage each other to be open, to talk, and, most importantly, to listen. You never know what someone else is going through so be kind.
In honor of World Suicide Prevention Day, I urge you all to be kind to one another. To listen when someone needs to talk. To speak up when you see someone struggling. Let’s all be more open, especially considering the current state of our world. We’re all struggling — it’s time we’re openly talking about it.
For more information and crisis resources, call National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (soon 988) or text Crisis Text Line (reachable by texting HOME to 741741). These services are available 24/7 so never hesitate to use them if you need help.