It is hard to walk down the halls and not overhear students talk about their mental health with their friends, yet students are still reluctant to openly discuss it without making it a joke.
The purpose of mental health awareness is to let people know they are not alone in their struggles. While what they are going through is terrible, it is not uncommon.
Awareness is meant to foster support for our peers who struggle. However, once the week, month or even day of support is over, we return to silence.
Although dumping problems onto unsuspecting acquaintances is not the way to go, we need to have more open discussions about what mental illness looks like and how it impacts daily life.
We need to have more discussions about how it is normal to not have perfect mental health. We need to publicize resources for those that need them.
Society is moving towards talking about mental health in a positive way, but awareness can only spread if we have open discussions. If we want this change to happen, we need to check in not only with those in our lives, but with acquaintances too. However, once we are done, we fall back into our own daily routine.
This is not okay.
The world isn’t perfect; it’s full of ups and downs. Living in our bubbles doesn’t help. Bottling up our feelings and struggles only leads to greater stress down the road.
Mental health issues are common. There is no other way to normalize issues if they are not openly talked about, and mental health is no exception. We can’t dismiss mental health as a made up illness. It is just as serious and real as physical health. While it may not be visible, it must be talked about as if it was a physical ailment.
May is mental health awareness month, but mental health needs to be talked about more than just one month a year. To end the stigma surrounding mental health, awareness needs to be continuous, not just an annual occurrence.
This unsigned editorial reflects the views of The Harbinger’s editorial board