In the United States, 46.4% of adults will experience a mental illness during their lifetime. Mental health should be a top priority in our healthcare system. Although society has become more aware of the danger of mental illness and the importance of mental health, most people are still undereducated in it. One of the biggest issues in our country is that mental health is not properly taught in school.
It is our education system’s duty to provide students with the ability to understand real-world issues. We are taught about the dangers of smoking, drugs, and drinking and driving, but when have our schools ever arranged an assembly for mental health awareness? Why are schools not telling people that 800,000 people die every year from suicide?
I am not only advocating for proper awareness of the dangers of mental health to be taught in school but also the teaching of the science behind mental illness, as well as the importance of medication. Though the media has recently brought a lot of attention to self-care for mental health, why is there still a stigma surrounding medication? Let’s face it, meditating and taking a warm bath is not going to magically cure depression.
Like Health Class, Mental Health should be a required class in school. It should cover the science of mental illness, its causes, healthy
coping mechanisms, proper information on accessing therapy, psychiatry, psychologists, etc, and why medication is so important.
As teenagers, it is also our duty to society that we start having discussions about accessing quality therapy for realistic and affordable prices. Sadly, most affordable help centers do not provide high-quality therapy and typically employ less experienced and educated therapists. Receiving proper mental health care is often outrageously expensive and, unfortunately, not accessible by most low and middle-class families.
Mental illness should never be seen as “something wrong”. Mental illnesses are extremely common, and their causes vary greatly. Mental hospitals, therapy, psychiatry appointments (to name a few) are unfairly looked down upon and labeled as institutions for “crazy people”. Looking down on and belittling those who are struggling and trying to seek help is far too normalized.
It is important to spread the message that it is okay to struggle, and you always deserve help. We need to spread the message of normalizing mental illness and promote the education of mental health. It is only through education that we will be able to grow and change the world. Our generation should never feel ashamed to speak up on important topics. It is our duty as the current youth to advocate for what’s right.