Dear Future President,
In our society, mental illnesses are often overlooked and are not given the adequate amount of attention that is needed in order to fix the negative impacts it is leaving on our country and its citizens. As a growing problem in the U.S., I believe we need to spread awareness of the issue and implement programs to help those affected by mental disorders. Every person has their own ideal image of what behaviors are normal, but when one falls out of this expected idea, people can be quick to judge and consider them to be mentally ill. As a result of this, one is looked at differently and has to carry around the shame of that title. We are not doing enough to end this. We need to teach others and ourselves that this is not an appropriate way of defining or approaching mental illnesses.
Many people are affected every day by mental illnesses, yet some still argue that mental illness is not a big issue and is not an important concern for the country. Physical illnesses tend to be focused on and stressed more, leaving mental illnesses in the shadows for no one to notice. A study performed by Mental Health America proves how this is a major issue consider, “18.19% is the percentage of US adults suffering from a form of mental illness... 3.77% is the percentage of adults reporting having serious thoughts of suicide” (Adult Population With Mental Illness in the US, by State, 2015).For those who continue to argue that number is not significant, that number represents over one million people. There is an extremely high chance that someone you know, or are friends with, suffers from a mental illness whether you’re aware of it or not. Any issue that causes somebody to have thoughts about taking their own life is an issue that needs to be fixed and deserves to be given proper attention. This issue isn’t only visible in the adult population, but in teens as well. According to the American Psychiatric Association, “suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people between eleven and eighteen years of age [and] is highest for those who suffer from depression, substance abuse, or other mental disorders.” If mental illness wasn’t an issue that needed to be solved, it wouldn’t greatly impact the likeliness of teen suicide . This only emphasizes the need for a better approach in solving this mental illness crisis.
Some people may challenge my view by insisting that mental illnesses aren’t overlooked and are given enough attention because they are only “ a sign of divine disfavor” or an expression of an individual’s moral shortcomings”(Mental Health). In contrast, researchers have proven that mental disorders can “cause people to lose touch with reality and become dangerous to themselves or others” (Mental Disorders). That suggests mental disorders are not something to disregard and should not be taken lightly. When lives are in danger, it is our responsibility to shine light onto this topic and not push it aside like it has been before. In fact, “Many health insurance plans do not provide comparable coverage for mental and nervous disorders as they do for surgeries and other physical illness treatments”(Mental Disorders). This needs to change, as mental disorders lead to many social problems, not only affecting the person with the disorder, but others as well. Mental illnesses are just as out of one’s control as a physical disorder is, and need to be treated with the same amount of urgency.
Lastly, we need to solve this issue due to the fact that it not only affects the person with the mental disorder, but the people near and dear to them. An article from The Washington Post shares the story of a woman whose family was affected by mental illnesses. “In high school, I was terrified that my friends would stop hanging out with me if they discovered my mom had lost touch with reality. I didn’t tell anyone that she would fly into violent rages, pummeling me for stretching out the collars of my T-shirts…” Later, she went on to explain how her mother’s illness caused her sister to run away from home to “escape my mother’s sickness.” This supports the idea that adequate care and attention needs to be provided for those suffering from mental illness as they prove to press danger onto their loved one and cause families to fall apart. It had gotten to the point where she was scared to be in her own house and wanted out. People are often ashamed to admit that mental illness plays a part in their life out of fear of being ridiculed by friends from school or others. There needs to be a safe place for people affected by this to share their thoughts and concerns for how this is impacting their life.
With this issue of mental illness, I believe a lot needs to be done in order for this problem to lighten. First thing I believe needs to be done is public awareness of the topic needs to be increased. There are still many people who believe mental illnesses such as depression, is just another word for unhappy, when clearly it is much more than that. It needs to be known that mental illnesses aren’t something one should be ashamed of or try to hide but we should focus on how brave it is to ask for help. This is an important issue to focus on because people would not be as scared to open up about their disorders if everyone accepted and acknowledged them. If we stop running away from this problem, and address it instead, the number of people affected by mental disorders could decrease. Also, health insurance needs to cover treatment for mental disorders the same as they do physical disorders, as they are both equally as important. Lastly, here needs to be programs for people with mental illnesses to get the help they need to reach a better place mentally. People’s lives are in danger because they are ashamed to seek the the help they need. People affected by mental disorders need a place that is safe from mockery and judgement. A place that can help whomever get through what they’re feeling. Mental illness is something I believe can be solved if we unite together to figure out an adequate approach and express awareness of the issue.
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