By Priya Kaur – Collegiate Staff
Mental health is treated very uniquely in American society compared to physical health. Despite nearly 18 percent of the population having an anxiety disorder and 10 percent of Americans being diagnosed with depression, mental health is still pushed aside. It’s something that isn’t given much importance and to many people is simply not real. People say that others always know what they are doing and should always be punished for their actions, but the line between motive and real problems is a tricky one to draw. At what point can you dictate whether someone’s actions are being motivated by an internal problem, or by outward motivations?
Many times people do not know that they have a problem. Symptoms such as anger issues, social withdrawal and change in diet can provide minor clues to things such as anxiety or depression. Of course in any case that you think someone is not doing well you should not approach them and state that. You should try to find out what is bothering them. It may not be something specific, but again, this is simply lending an accepting hand to someone in need.
Not everyone is born the same but not everyone is that different either. Most mental health issues are simply caused by not being balanced, like a scale. As long as you’re steadily balanced somewhere in the middle, you are fine. A bit too far to one side and you’re considered unstable and many times it’s not dangerous. But, at times, it can be. Not only of others, but for the person who has the problems as well.
As a society we tend to only pay attention to mental health when something drastic happens. Which I suppose is where the stigma of mental instability always being dangerous comes from. It’s the reason we see having mental issues as such a negative thing. No one talks about the perfectly average citizen who takes prescriptions for minor things such as anxiety or depression and never causes any problem. We only see major events in the news and thus associate mental disorders with violence.
Since mental health issues are looked at with such negativity, people aren’t open to accepting that they may have a problem. As a society, the only way we can help with this is to lend our understanding and acceptance to people who may need it. Issues such as depression can be caused by a chemical imbalance and many times is fixable with the right medication.
We need to understand that people are not moping around, they are sick. We wouldn’t say someone with cancer is choosing to have their illness and should just go be healthy. Yet we tell people with mental health issues to simply get over it, as if were that easy. As a society we need to stop discrimination against people for something they cannot control. Many times a history of mental instability can prevent people from getting jobs. That’s simply not right. It needs to be understood that not allowing people to be a normal part of society only harms them further by not having the social relationships they need.