Let's Talk about Mental Health

Let's Talk about Mental Health

Dec 20, 2016, 8:38:24 PM Opinion

It has been awhile since I did a “let’s talk”. Hi, hello. Today let’s talk about mental health. I’ve already talked about depression (you can find that “let’s talk” in the link below), but I want to talk about mental health as a whole and why we neglect to talk care of ourselves mentally. So, let’s just jump right in.

            Recently, I was watching a vlog from one of my favorite Youtubers and she was talking openly about how she sees a therapist every week and she brought up a really good point. She said something along the lines of keeping care of yourself mentally is just as important, if not more important, as keeping care of your physical being. However, mentally we neglect ourselves so much. Noshameonu.org, which is an organization that specifically targets mental health stigma, recorded in a study that 1 in 4 people, ages 18 or older, lives with a diagnosed mental health illness and two thirds of those diagnosed do not seek treatment. More studies from the National Alliance on Mental Health shows approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year, approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities, 1 in 5 youth ages 13 to 18 experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life, 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia, 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder, 6.9% of adults in the U.S. had at least one major depressive episode in the past year, 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias, and among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5% or 10.2 million adults had a co-occurring mental illness. These studies all range from 2012 to 2015 and the consequences of not treating these illnesses are detrimental. Over one-third of students with a mental health condition ages 14­ to 21 and older, who are served by special education, drop out, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., more than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition, and each day an estimated 18 to 22 veterans die by suicide. Again, all of these statistics range from studies taken from 2012 up to 2015, which you can find in my citation page at the end.

            So, if the statistics are high and the consequences are detrimental why is mental health still not being taken care of? Of course it comes down to it is your responsibility (varying in each case) to take care of your health, but we often don’t because of the stigma around mental health. Society has sublimely pushed this idea onto us that if you have a mental health illness you have something seriously wrong with you and everyone around you will look at you differently, treat you differently, and it is best if you just keep it behind closed doors. We see it in movies, T.V., books, news, magazines, etc. Stereotypes say if you have depression you are most likely to wear all black, wear way too much dark makeup, self-harm (usually through cutting), write moody poetry, and listen to “emo” bands such as Black Veil Brides and My Chemical Romance. If you’re bipolar you’re most likely a female in your early twenties who throws dishes at your significant other for no good reason. If you have schizophrenia you’re extremely dangerous and/or violent, if you have an eating disorder you’re most likely a female and either an out of work model or actress in Hollywood trying to make it big.

These stereotypes are so extremely harmful because they not only convince people with mental health illnesses to not seek help, but it causes others around them to label them and act differently or negatively towards them. I have a brother who has a mental illness and if I had a dollar for every time someone labeled him a “retard”, I’d have enough money to buy him a new car so he could leave them all in the dust. The amount of times my siblings have been told cutting makes them “emo” is enough to buy each of them their own car. We stay far away from things like therapy because that means you’re different and different is bad. But are you really different? A poll released in May by "Therapy in America 2004" and co-sponsored by Psychology Today magazine and PacifiCare Behavioral Health, estimated 59 million people have received some kind of mental health treatment in the past 2 years, and that 80% of them reported it to be effective, and the numbers are steadily rising. So you don’t have to feel shame or embarrassed about seeking help. In fact, a similar study taken by the American Psychological Association in 2004 shows nearly half of those polled said that the stigma surrounding mental health services has decreased in recent years. The stigma around therapy and such other treatments shouldn’t deter you from seeking out the help you need. Mental health is extremely important for functioning every day as a productive individual.

Mental health is important for feeling your best every day and should be treated as important as physical health. Don’t be afraid to reach out and seek help. There are a plethora of associations and organizations that are solely dedicated to breaking the stigma around mental health. You don’t have to let the stereotypes get you down or feel like you’re dealing with this problem alone. And if someone you know is struggling with their mental health do what you can to help them get proper treatment. You could be improving or potentially saving a life. I’ll leave some links down below to some places where you can seek treatment or just find a profession to talk to because I am by no means an expert.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and I’d love to get some feedback. If you have research that contradicts or adds to my research, please share and let me know if there’s any topics specifically you’d like to hear me talk about.

Links for treatment and advice:


  1. Any Mental Illness (AMI) Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-mental-illness-ami-among-adults.shtml
  2. Serious Mental Illness (SMI) Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/serious-mental-illness-smi-among-us-adults.shtml
  3. Any Disorder Among Children. (n.d.) Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-disorder-among-children.shtml
  1. Schizophrenia. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/schizophrenia.shtml
  2. Bipolar Disorder Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/bipolar-disorder-among-adults.shtml
  3. Major Depression Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/major-depression-among-adults.shtml
  4. Any Anxiety Disorder Among Adults. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/any-anxiety-disorder-among-adults.shtml
  5. National Center for Mental Health and Juvenile Justice. (2007). Blueprint for Change: A Comprehensive Model for the Identification and Treatment of Youth with Mental Health Needs in Contact with the Juvenile Justice System. Delmar, N.Y: Skowyra, K.R. & Cocozza, J.J. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.ncmhjj.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/2007_Blueprint-for-Change-Full-Report.pdf
  6. Use of Mental Health Services and Treatment Among Children. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/prevalence/use-of-mental-health-services-and-treatment-among-children.shtml
  7. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2010). 2010 National Healthcare Disparities Report. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. Retrieved January 2013, from http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/nhqrdr/nhdr10/index.html.
  8. Kessler, R.C., et al. (2005). Prevalence, Severity, and Comorbidity of 12-Month DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbitity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 593–602. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=208671
  9. Insel, T.R. (2008). Assessing the Economic Costs of Serious Mental Illness. The American Journal of Psychiatry. 165(6), 663-665
  10. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, The Department of Health & Human Services. (2009). HCUP Facts and Figures: Statistics on Hospital-based Care in the United States, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/factsandfigures/2009/pdfs/FF_report_2009.pdf
  11. Colton, C.W. & Manderscheid, R.W. (2006). Congruencies in Increased Mortality Rates, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Causes of Death Among Public Mental Health Clients in Eight States. Preventing Chronic Disease: Public Health Research, Practice and Policy, 3(2), 1–14. Retrieved January 16, 2015, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1563985/
  12. National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors Council. (2006). Morbidity and Mortality in People with Serious Mental Illness. Alexandria, VA: Parks, J., et al. Retrieved January 16, 2015 from http://www.nasmhpd.org/docs/publications/MDCdocs/Mortality%20and%20Morbidity%20Final%20Report%208.18.08.pdf
  13. http://www.livingwithSchizophrenia.org
  14. http://www.apa.org/monitor/julaug04/survey.aspx
  15. http://www.noshameonu.org


Let’s Talk about Depression link:

Published by Skyler Winder

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