Mental Health Matters

It’s 2019 and everyone can agree that our social consciousness has increased and evolved. However, there are still things in our society that are still shrouded in stigma. One of the biggest topics that is still taboo is mental health. While we should be able to open-up to those around us and to be honest about ourselves, the stigma that surrounds mental health causes us to be closed off and to keep secrets from loved ones.

What Exactly Is Stigma? 

Merriam-Webster defines stigma as “a mark of shame or discredit”. Stigma suppresses people from reaching out for help if they need it and to become socially withdrawn from those around them. We are here to encourage those to reach out if they need to; we are here to challenge the societal norms and to break down the stigma surrounding mental health. The Mayo Clinic even cites that stigma “can lead to discrimination.” People can even discriminate against themselves. As we all know, college can be particularly trying, and we all know the effects that lack of sleep and stress can cause. Being successful towards your dreams and towards your career aspirations means that one must take care of themselves.  Your mental health matters and we encourage you to be your own best advocate. We encourage you to break down the barriers of stigma and we encourage you to reach out to your peers and to lift each other up. If there are issues in your life, if you feel like something is amiss, please reach out for help with those around you or to the many sources for help with mental health. 

What Does Mental Health Look Like? 

Mental health problems can come with a myriad of symptoms from sleeping issues to even physical pain. Especially in college, we must recognize these symptoms to be able to give 100% in all our endeavors. The most common symptoms can include: feeling in general sad or down, reduced ability to concentrate, withdrawal from friends and activities, significant tiredness or sleeping problems, inability to cope with daily problems or stress, trouble understanding or relating to people, alcohol or drug abuse, sex drive changes, excessive anger or hostility, and even suicidal thinking. These are just a few symptoms; to see a more comprehensive list please visit MentalHealthAmerica.net. If you notice these symptoms in yourself or in others around you, please reach out for help. The stress from college can exacerbate any of these symptoms and seriously get in the way of our personal goals. It is of the utmost importance to look within ourselves to see if any of these symptoms are hindering our daily life and to reach out for help. 

How Do We Get Help? 

A great resource is the free counseling services at your university. These services are set up for the students to take advantage of, even if one may feel embarrassed for needing the help. We are here to tell you that there is nothing embarrassing about reaching out for help, in fact, it takes a lot of courage to do so. There are also many other resources, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), NAMI can offer many referrals to counseling, doctors, support groups, etc. There are also many hotlines set up for those who are suffering: 

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 

  • National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 

  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America: 240-485-1001 

  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance: 1-800-826-3632 

It’s important to take care of ourselves and to take care of those that we love. Together, we can break down the barriers that separate us and begin to lift each other up. Mental health always matters and will always matter. Let’s, as a society, begin to break down the stigma and idolize the honesty that it takes to recognize that something is wrong and to recognize that we may need help. You can be your best when you’re taking care of yourself the best.