Mental Health is Something We Need To Talk About
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Health and Wellness

Mental Health is Something We Need To Talk About

There won't be a change until we make mental health an open conversation.

Mental Health is Something We Need To Talk About

During high school, I thought everyone had their lives together, and that made me feel like mine was so much farther away from that. No one discussed the hard stuff they were going through. No one talked about having anxiety, depression, or eating disorders. I never heard of anyone going to a therapist. It was a big deal when people got called to the counselor at school. We didn’t discuss these things openly with each other, and because of that, I felt like everyone was perfect and that I had to be, too.

When I came back for winter break during my freshman year of college, I felt scared to admit to even my closest friends that I had gone to talk with a therapist. I didn’t have any huge problems, but it was an option I took advantage of during some hard times. Since I hadn’t heard of anyone talking to a counselor before, I felt that I was really weak asking for help from someone. I went home that December and opened up to my best friend and she looked at me in almost shock, saying she had gone to therapy, too.

So during that break, at different times in different places when this was somehow brought into conversation, the list of those who had reached out for help in some way continued to grow. It turned into almost a pat on the back when someone would admit this. We’d all be like, “Oh my gosh, good for you! Don’t you love it? Don’t you feel so much better afterwards?” It’s as if we were all congratulating each other for being a little messed up inside and having the courage to act on it in a really positive way.

All of this got me thinking about when the topic of mental health should go from embarrassing to being an open conversation. Why does it come up only after you're happier and on a better path? It wasn’t until I actually reached out for help myself that I learned there is no shame in doing so. It doesn’t make you weak; it’s actually one of the stronger things you can do. I think that while we are growing up in school, our homes and anywhere in public, we should be encouraged to discuss our mental health; that way when we start to go through some crappy stuff, it’s easier to talk about it. We won’t have to be ashamed to admit we sought professional help and we can encourage others to do so as well. We can prevent suicide and all types of self-harm and we can do all of this by simply starting the conversation and making it something comfortable to talk about.

In high school, no one had everything figured out. Rather, everyone hid what was going on inside. Instead of adding to the stress that already exists, we need to find our own form of counseling. It doesn’t have to be the traditional sit-in-a-chair-in-a-white-walled-office, either. It’s imperative to find something that clears your head. For me, it’s talking about it, and it’s good to know that most colleges offer counseling for almost any occasion and for free. (They might also give you free snacks or let you sit in a relaxation room when you’re feeling stressed, but you only know these secrets if you reach out and find them.) For others it could be a long run, a journal or painting; find the one that works for you and stick to it. Your mental health and capacity to be happy and full of life is so important that there should be no embarrassment or shame around keeping that alive.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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