We need to start taking a stand on the battleground of mental health. Ninety percent of suicide deaths are caused by an inner battle of depression and other severe illnesses. Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In the past forty-five years, the rates have gone up by sixty percent. Worldwide. That is the horrible success rate. That is not counting the failed attempts. We need to wake up and realize that life needs worth living. And that starts with making a difference to help others.
Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, personality disorders, PTSD, and many others all are mental illnesses. The people who suffer from these are not “crazy”. They are hurting. We may not be able to see their internal fight, but it is real and it is happening. What would happen if we would treat it like a physical injury? What if we could see it? For example, in football when a player is hit on a head to head collision, the player is slow to get up. The medical staff rushes onto the field and helps him up and off the field. They then take him to an examiner tent and evaluate him on concussion protocol. They run tests and see if he is fit to go back in the game. If he’s not, he won’t return. Now, what if there is a teenager. He’s in high school, trying his best in all his classes. He has a group of friends he hangs out with every now and then. But when he is alone at two-thirty in morning, he sits on his bed thinking, “What if I was gone tomorrow? Would anyone miss me?” His mind is not okay, he doesn’t want to ask help because he’s not supposed to be this way. He’s supposed to be happy, getting good grades, and start thinking about colleges. He’s suffering and there is no medical staff to run over to him. No one is checking to make sure he’s clear. He should not be afraid to ask for help. He should not be alone in this. We need to make sure that we have the medical staff running out to help others.
In today’s day and age, pop culture plays important role in shaping our views; including the way we view ourselves. The movies we watch, the songs we listen to, and celebrities we look up to. These all have a window of opportunity to convey messages which can be positive or negative. Unfortunately, in the world today we are getting mixed signals. Seeing a celebrity post something about body positivity can make us feel better about our bodies, but a couple days later they might post pictures from a photo shoot. We could easily fall right back to the way we were feeling earlier. Ugly. Fat. Worthless, even. Those feelings start to spiral downwards and suddenly we’ve fallen into a pit. The insecurities have built walls around us. Where’s the escape? For some people, they see a false glimmer of hope. They see a cut-out of what they are led to believe is beautiful. The only way out for them is to try and become that false sense of beauty. In most cases, being skinny and flawless is the answer. When they look in the mirror and see themselves, they won’t see their true beauty. They won’t see the fact that they are becoming skin and bones. They will keep on skipping meals and counting calories. The mental illness has consumed them. The cut-out is getting smaller and smaller and yet they will still try to fit through and escape. Don’t think that women are the only ones who suffer from self-image. Men suffer through it too. Images of being in fit, building muscle, being six foot or taller, and having less fat run through their minds. There is a harsh critique for them as well. We have to take this into notice when we are talking about the well being of our loved ones. Family members and other loved ones will hopefully often take notice in a case like this. It will take awhile but healing will come.
In the recent years, music has become a way to express emotions. When we hear a song come on the radio, we listen and try to understand what the artist is coming from. Sometimes we can relate to the emotions the song portrays. In 2016 and 2017, two songs came out and people related. Alessia Cara’s song, “Scars To Your Beautiful” and Logic’s, “1-800-273-8255” topped charts. Alessia’s song sends a message to those who are dealing with body image; she had mentioned in a interview. However, Logic’s song sends a message to anybody dealing with a mental illness. The song’s title is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. After he performed the song at an awards show, the director of the lifeline said that calls went up by thirty-three percent. While this is a powerful and moving improvement; should we really be at the point where we hear a song on the radio to realize this? Shouldn’t this already be known? Would this be considered a failure? If so, where are we failing?
These mental illnesses are serious. They are not a joke. We need to start taking more steps in the right direction. We need to keep on moving upwards during these uphill battles. We need to fight for the lives that are being lost each and everyday. This is real. We could be losing friends and family. But we also have the opportunity to save them. If we: recognize the signs, reach out, and sometimes just being there. We need to be a light in this darkness; sharing our light with those who are lost in the dark.