Start talking, QU

Remove the stigma behind mental illnesses

By on February 5, 2014

How often do you say that someone is crazy, depressed, bipolar, OCD, etc? These words are often thrown around and usually under circumstances that aren’t necessarily true. Mental illnesses are very prevalent and need to be talked about more.

Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older — about one in four adults — suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year, according to the National Institute of Health.

People are always saying negative things, and how often do you think to yourself that you don’t want to be around negative people. It ends up being easier to separate yourself from the negativity rather than dealing with it directly. Think of it this way, when you notice that someone is blind, you might go the extra step to help them. But when someone makes their status that they don’t feel like getting out of bed today and haven’t been happy in months, how many times do we rush over to ask if they’re OK?

There seems to be a double-sided stigma when it comes to mental illnesses. People who have mental illnesses might think that it’s weird and that no one is going to understand what they are going through or they might not want to burden other people with it. People who don’t have mental illnesses might not understand them because it’s hard to relate to something they’ve never had to deal with before.

Blindness is something that stays with you forever just like a mental illness could too. The difference is that we can see physical problems, and we were taught how to deal with them and how to deal with people who are for example blind or deaf. But what we aren’t taught is how to deal with people who are mentally ill. We learn about the different types of illnesses but we never learn how to deal with them because we can’t necessarily see them. Because people don’t learn how to deal with things such as mental illnesses, it becomes harder to talk about.

If you take a look at the recent shootings, some reasons for the shootings have to do with the fact that the person who had the gun may have had a mental illness. How many times do you hear in post-shooting interviews that people knew something was off about the person but never said anything? It is after that these incidents happen that people are willing to say something rather than saying something before it happened.

For example, a former teacher of Adam Lanza’s noticed some strange behavior.

The former teacher told investigators that Lanza would write disturbing passages, “obsessing” over war and destruction, and that his work was “so graphic that it could not be shared” reported CNN.com.

If everyone starts taking these necessary extra steps, we might be able to prevent incidents from occurring.

To make it more personal for Quinnipiac students, look at the commotion about senior public safety officers carrying guns. Many students had different things to say about the guns and whether they were for it or against it or that the reason for the guns was because of recent events with other shootings. But what about those recent events? Has anyone thought that maybe it could have something to do with the people with the guns?

Quinnipiac offers limited resources to students. A new club about mental health, Active Minds, was just created. It’s organizations like these where people can learn more about mental health.

Instead of getting emails about officers getting guns, maybe we should be receiving emails about this new club on campus. Or more facilities that the university has to offer for people to learn about mental illnesses.

If we start talking, we can start taking steps toward helping people and creating awareness.

 

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About Sarah Harris

Managing Editor
Email: editor@quchronicle.com
Twitter: @sarah_harris7
Year: 2016
Major: Print journalism