Mental health awareness is not enough

Being aware of mental illness is important, but some would argue that what comes after is more so. Gaining knowledge of mental illnesses and how to properly treat them is the next step in becoming a society that cares.

Emma Rooney, Editor-In-Chief

Approximately 17 percent of school-aged children are living with a mental illness, according to a 2011 study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In response to this revealing information, steps have been taken by schools nationwide in an attempt to alleviate the stigma surrounding mental health. While it is extremely important to be talking about mental health, it is even more pertinent that people have are properly informed before they push for change.

Something that affects as many people as mental illness does should not be shied away from in discussion. The CDC concluded from their study that only 25 percent of adults feel that, “people are caring and sympathetic to persons with mental illness.” The best way to prevent mental health stereotypes from becoming even more misconstrued is to better educate the people who plan on creating change and reform.

“Introducing [mental health education] at a young age, and then substantiating it as you go along is the best course for action,” Samuel Weaver, Combatting Intolerance teacher, said. “It’s so much easier if we repeat the message and add on to the topics instead of introducing it later in life.”

The reason that people are apprehensive to discuss such a widespread topic is due to the way in which people with mental illness are portrayed in society.

“I think exposure is always going to be the best option,” Weaver said.

In order to host a fundraiser or event surrounding mental health correctly, the creators must be well-educated on the topic and be comfortable with having open dialogue about its effects.

“It’s very important for people to be aware of and understand as best they can the circumstances around and behind mental illness,” Shawna Crystal (’17) said.

Although somone’s initial thoughts may lead to a desire for immediate action, it is important to take the time and research. A proper education on the concepts of mental health will lead to better structured campaigns and more healthy dialogue, which in the end, will lead to a healthier world.