Letter to the Editor: MENTAL HEALTH

MENTAL HEALTH: NO LAUGHING MATTER

There was once a day when mental health was a hush subject: the opposite is happening now. Mental illness is being romanticized in the media. It’s being desired among teenagers.

It’s being talked about in the media. People go as far to joke about these mental issues. To be in touch with our emotions is not something we should run from, it’s something that we should embrace and learn to accept.

Mental issues have become very attractive to viewers of television shows, movies and social media. Unfortunately, it is often not portrayed in a way that shows the true harm that these illnesses truly wreak havoc your mind and body.

The popular Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” follows teen Hannah Baker as she deals with rape, anxiety and a gory suicide. The show received more backlash and hate than praise.

It glorifies suicide and reminds viewers that the option to end their lives is always there.

Teenagers have been sucked in this idea of the “new normal.” This is the idea that having a mental illnesses is something to covet; and since your friends have it too, it adds in the need to fit in.

The competition over mental illness is fierce: Teens are debating who has it worse. Jokes about mental illness are also on the rise. You hear phases like “I didn’t eat breakfast — I’m so anorexic” or “I got PTSD from that science test.” These jokes are insensitive, rude and hurtful.

The worst “joke” of all is “kill yourself.” I’ve heard countless people say this on a daily basis as if it has no meaning.

As someone who has struggled with depression, anxiety, panic disorder and suicidal self harm, we need to stop saying these things You never know who is going to take flippant words seriously.

The stigma surrounding mental health needs to be modified. In this day and age, people are often inconsiderate of other people’s invisible struggles. We should respect people who carry these issues. Their problems cannot be overlooked, and they should not be afraid to get help.

According to an article on mental illness in December 2013, by journalist Lara Kahn, she says “being mentally ill is becoming less taboo, but admitting you have a mental illness is disturbingly difficult.”

As people open up and share their stories about mental health issues, we cannot be romanticizing these thoughts in the public eye. People need to learn how to portray mental illness in the media in an awakened way. The jokes need to stop.

The stigma about getting help is something we need to accept, not something to fear. Once you have the tools to help yourself, your scars will begin to heal.

– Elissa Bundy

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