May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and while it is great to have a month dedicated to an important matter that can affect anyone, it is often easy to neglect our mental health and others as well. Our emotional, physical, and social well-being are at risk when we fail to take care of ourselves at any point of our lives.
I think it is easier to say that you are “fine” when someone asks, “how are you?”. Perhaps the person will not understand or think that you are being dramatic. But in reality, it can easily affect day-to-day life. The stigma surrounding mental health makes it so much harder to reach out and get the help that someone needs. They might be told to “get over it” or that “other people have it much worse”. These stigmas exist because there is not enough awareness or education about mental health conditions. They force isolation and suffering on people who struggle with anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other illnesses because society deems them as outsiders.
The World Health Organization (WHO) even reports that “Suicide is the second leading cause of death among 15-29-year-olds” and that “Despite progress in some countries, people with mental health conditions often experience severe human rights violations, discrimination, and stigma”. This is a problem for people struggling in our communities and all over the world. Governments and institutions need to expand programs and services and society needs to normalize mental illness.
It is time that we stop the stigma surrounding mental health and create a safe space for people with mental health conditions. This needs to be done at the governmental level and within our own communities. We are all human beings and all deal with negative things in our lives. That is not an excuse to brush off yours and others’ mental health. We should not be pushed away or defined by the things that occur in our lives. Remember to check up on friends and loved ones, and that it is okay to seek help or see a therapist.
Here are some resources to educate yourself and to seek help both on and off campus:
Sites to Visit:
Providence College Personal Counseling Center:
(401) 865 2343
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
1 (800) 273 8255
Crisis Text Line:
Text HOME to 741741
Mental Health America:
Text MHA to 741741