The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Stigma detours mental health solutions

02_27_13_cartoon

There is a problem in our society that nobody seems to want to speak about, and more importantly, something we aren’t doing enough about.

This problem is mental illness.

According to a report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one in five Americans experiences some sort of mental illness. Five percent have suffered to the point that it interferes with day-to-day activities.

Mental illness has more than 200 classified forms, including depression, bipolar and anxiety. With so many possibilities and combinations, it’s hard to believe we do not have a better system in place to help recognize and attempt to treat these illnesses.

We simply can no longer ignore mental illnesses. Some politicians and activists have stepped up in the wake of Sandy Hook and other similar tragedies. Even the National Rifle Association has expressed a desire to open up a dialogue on mental health. When?

The problem lies in the stigma that is placed on these illnesses. When people hear the familiar words like “Oh, he must not have taken his crazy meds today” or “That guy is crazy. He must be bipolar,” why would they then want to get diagnosed and treated, opening themselves up to the same type of criticism?

Another issue is people think they are immune to the problem. Or they go into denial because they feel they are a failure if their child or family members are diagnosed.

This is not the case.

Mental illness is a common and widespread issue most people will deal with, in some form, in their lifetimes. Many times, it is nobody’s fault, just a simple chemical imbalance in the brain that can be easily treated with medication or professional rehabilitation.

Other times, the illness spawns from deep-seeded issues that have not been brought to the surface. Family members and even friends have an obligation to recognize symptoms and help people get the proper treatment so they do not spiral out of control. With proper treatment, most of them can cope with or even make a full recovery from a given illness or disorder.

Without the proper treatment, the results can become tragic. The same study showed that most people who suffer from a disorder do not commit suicide. However, of those who die from or attempt suicide, roughly 90 percent have a diagnosed or diagnosable mental disorder.

People can look for several warning signs, according to Mental Health America. In adults, these can include social withdrawal, denial of obvious problems and prolonged depression among others. In young adults and adolescents, these can include prolonged negative mood, frequent outbursts of anger and drastic changes in school performance.

If our leaders aren’t going to take a stand and do something, it seems up to us to recognize when we or the people we love have a potential issue and need to seek the proper help.

Stop ignoring the signs or worrying what others might think and help change this before it’s too late.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian