Mental Health Awareness in America


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Since May is Mental Health Awareness month, many corporations and private companies aim to raise awareness.

Daniela Parra Del Riego, Staff Writer

Among the stress of Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate exams, the mere mention of the month of May raises stress levels across students. Stress is an important biological response to a potentially threatening situation, yet too much of the hormone adrenaline, which is responsible for stress, can lead to both physical and mental problems in the future. May marks “Mental Health Awareness” month in the United States, and it was started by entities such as Mental Health America to reduce stigmas associated with any and all mental health issues in the nation in hopes to create a more inclusive society. Recognition of an issue is the first step to cause a change in society, therefore making this seemingly ‘simple’ acknowledgment of an issue that affects 1/5 of Americans potentially life-saving for anyone struggling.

Lack of awareness on issues relating to mental health can cause individuals to feel isolated because they suffer from issues that they might not know are actually fairly common. This feeling of not being alone satisfies the most basic need to form a supportive community, which may help someone affected feel some relief from their symptoms. Increased awareness in the general population will also help those not affected personally recognize symptoms in others and prevent their alienation, therefore reducing stigma. This new wave of awareness also helps individuals reach out for help and access treatment that they might not have received had they not been informed of the possibilities of treatment.

“Mental health care should be accessible since so many people suffer from some sort of illness. I am so happy that there’s been an increase in dialogue around the country, and I hope that the stigma continues to decrease,” junior Kylie Coulombe said.

It is said that 70% of individuals suffering from some sort of mental health issue isolate themselves and do not discuss their issues in fear of rejection from those close to them. This statistic has a major impact on the functioning of society as a whole since some mental illnesses seriously inhibit a person’s ability to function on a normal day-to-day level.  Since there is also a strong correlation between mental health issues and physical health issues, more money must be spent on the later. While this correlation seems obvious, this reduces the amount of government money that could be used for other projects because an estimated 44% of the population receives health coverage from public entities. This is in no way an inefficient use of government funds as the health of constituents should be a nation’s top priority, yet when $1.1 trillion of federal funds go to health care, it makes sense to nip the issue at the bud and help people receive mental health care instead of letting the issue develop into a physical problem.

“[Mental Health Awareness] is critical given the immense social and personal pressures the rising digital generation faces in today’s society. We have to work harder as a whole to ensure everyone suffering from mental issues finds the help they deserve, and this is a step in the right direction,” sophomore Hanna Ebrahimi said.

Despite the growing awareness, this still does not mean that mental health care around the nation is accessible. There are about 1,800 mental health care providers for youth that are supposed to attend to the 15 million youth that need help. As well-intentioned as the mental health awareness movement is, there is still not enough support for people to be proactive in the pursuit of care. This, however, does not mean that the movement is completely invalid. Awareness is the first step to receive help for those privileged enough to access any sort of care. A lack of understanding is the biggest obstacle to a more inclusive society. If we can all learn to live our life in accordance with the principles emphasized during Mental Health Awareness Month, we will create a safer, more understanding society for all.