I was working on one of my typical posts with all the links I’ve collected from this week and couldn’t help but notice how many were about mental health. I figured it’d be better to write an individual post about it.
So, mental health. How do you define it? Do you know what it is? There is a terrible stigma in our country when it comes to mental health. If someone is depressed it’s like they have a communicable disease and you can’t talk to them, but people are more than happy to talk about them. People seem to distance themselves away from those with mental illnesses but, really, we should be moving TOWARDS them. Helping them. Asking them if they need anything. Asking them how the hell they are doing. It amazes me how close-minded people can be about something that can be helped, can be improved, with just a simple acknowledgement.
My little outburst started this morning when I was reading NPR’s article on MIT Trying to Relieve Student Pressure. Did you know they have had 6 suicides in the last 14 months? Or have had higher than the national average suicide rate for the last 2 years? If you read the comments below (you should always read the comments!) they mentioned how a professor committed suicide in the last year. This doesn’t seem to be just an MIT problem, but a problem within our culture. As noted in the comments, a “sink or swim” attitude within the academic system (and as our country as a whole really) has created many, many mental health issues which unfortunately can lead to suicidal behavior.
The Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) published a study correlating depression & strokes titled, “Changes in Depressive Symptoms and Incidence of First Stroke Among Middle-Aged and Older US Adults” Linked is the abstract version, you can see the full text here. Did you hear about this? What do you think?
On a positive note, many Minnesota employers have collaborated efforts & ideas to create the Make it Okay Campaign that works towards acknowledging & educating the population about mental health. The goal is to reduce the stigma of mental illnesses and make it okay to talk about them. They are having an ambassador training in a few weeks which I look forward to attending. I’m excited to work with my co-workers to kick this campaign off within the community we I work in. I will follow up more after the training.
If you think you may be suffering from a mental illness (or even experiencing similar symptoms of one) please GET HELP. Reach out to your friends & family, talk to your school counselors, talk to your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at work. Talk to anyone! There are free resources out there and there are plenty of people that want to help.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to let me know how YOU are helping prevent the stigma against mental illnesses!
Twitter –> @ InPower Coach