Dear Future President,
I’m writing this letter today to express my deep concerns around this country not talking about mental health… I realize it’s not something many people like to talk about, but we should view it the same as we do cancer or even obesity. The problem is not within the countless people willing to talk about it, but actually originating in the government not letting people talk about it. The three main things you should take into account are the rising suicide rates -and attempted suicide-, and increase in stigma, and discrimination.
Let's talk about the sad reality on how men, women, teens, college students, people of every race, and so much more are deciding that their life is not worth living. New York Times has actually stated that in 30 years the United States suicide rate is at it’s highest. In 30 years! What many don’t know about suicide is that it is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. that’s About 42,773 people who die by suicide each year. And if that doesn’t get you thinking, think about this… On an average there are about 117 suicides each day.
Mental illness is no different than any other illness yet it’s not talked about. This factors into the next problem, stigma. If you don’t know already what stigma is here’s the definition. According to the Government of Western Australia Mental Health Commission, “ Stigma is a mark of disgrace that sets a person apart. When a person is labelled by their illness they are seen as part of a stereotyped group. Negative attitudes create prejudice which leads to negative actions and discrimination.” It’s sad to think about how not talking about things like mental illness and keeping it in the dark causes so many people to put themselves down continuously because they believe they’re alone or that there’s something wrong with them. When they’re not alone -1 in 5 people not alone- in fact according to the Kim Foundation they’re just one of about 20.9 million people who are suffering from some sort of mental illness just in the U.S. Nor is there something wrong with them.
Moving to the connecting problem of stigma… Discrimination. In today’s world we are blessed to have the opportunity to have grown up with the internet, but it is also a curse. With the increase in Social Media there has also been an increase in cyber bullying. This has lead to the problem with people that are already too hard on themselves or are dealing with sigma who see mean or untrue comments on either themself or on mental illnesses as a whole. This might be an amazing tool -and don’t get me wrong I love the internet/social media- but it also gives people another opportunity to scrutinize others.
In conclusion, I believe we need to talk more about mental health and mental illnesses to help those people dealing with the thoughts of suicide and that they’re not worth it. We need to use our voices to tell those people that they are worth it! And they’re not alone.
Design, Vivid Interactive and. "What Is Stigma?" What Is Stigma? N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
[email protected] "Mental Disorders in America." Mental Illness Statistics. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
"Suicide Statistics — AFSP." AFSP. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
Tavernise, Sabrina. "U.S. Suicide Rate Surges." The New York Times. The New York Times, 21 Apr. 2016. Web. 18 Oct. 2016