Today it is common to hear people talk about how stressful their lives are. People are getting less sleep, spending less time with their loved ones and working harder than they ever have before. Maybe that is why we hear the term “mental illness” abundantly these days, and it affects everyone from the elderly, to young children.
It isn’t thought of as a person wearing a straightjacket and being locked up in an asylum, quite like it used to be thought about. Now we think of mental illness and we think of people on the brink of suicide or hurting themselves physically in some manner. The taboo attached to having mental illness is still as prevalent as ever, and it shows in the way we continue to treat people who come forward about their illness.
Part of the problem stems from thinking that if you are mentally ill, that you are weak, or too delicate to function in normal society. It also stems from our societal expectation that our country is built on toughness. These societal norms perpetuate the idea that someone who is mentally ill just needs to be happier or toughen up instead of teach awareness about how to help someone who is mentally ill.
While we have come a long way in acceptance in our communities, we have also allowed people to hide behind a Facebook wall or computer screen. We are a generation called the snowflakes but are we really as fragile as they make us out to be?
I don’t believe we are. We are a generation of problem solvers and thinkers.
We are movers and shakers of the world around us, all while handling boatloads of homework, 40-plus hours of work a week and many of us swimming in some kind of debt. We are still making things happen for the world around us, and making big strides in the world.
As people come forward to say, “I can’t do this anymore,” or “I’ve just had enough,” we trivialize the symptoms of their mental health. We as a society need to step up for one another. Too often, mental illness is not taken seriously until it is too late and we have lost someone close to us.
Mental illness demands to be heard, and I firmly believe we all need to be accountable and take the time to slow down and listen to each other more, love each other more, and judge each other a lot less.
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