This summer, I decided to take a few classes to make my course load a little lighter for my remaining two years. One of the classes I enrolled in was abnormal psychology and I definitely have gotten more out of this class than I ever expected I would.
While I was interested in the content of the course before I even started the work, I found myself becoming more and more intrigued by the information I was learning. Soon, I was reading 2-3 chapters ahead of the actual class just because I wanted to know more. However, one of the things that I couldn’t seem to shake when learning all of this new content was the high amount of people that were suffering from mental health disorders within this country alone. In fact, it was just released that 42.5 million Americans experience some form on mental health condition every year. 9.3 million of these Americans experience conditions that severely affect their day-to-day lifestyles. So, why do we not hear more about this when so many people seem to be living with these conditions?
Today, our society is overly concerned with physical appearances and the types of things we should be doing in order to achieve these desired looks. You see it everywhere — “Top 5 Exercises to Tone Your Tummy For Summer,” “The Best Foods to Eat to Slim Your Thighs,” etc. However, the problem here is that we spend so much time on our physical health and not enough time on our mental health, which is just as important.
It is estimated that 40% of Americans that suffer from “severe” mental illness, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, never receive treatment. Despite this high percentage, it was found that more than half of the counties in the country have no practicing psychologist, social worker, or psychiatrist. This information and the content that I read in my class astonished me. As a someone who suffered through times of severe anxiety, I know personally just how important it is to have that assistance. I went from not being able to leave my home or being able to walk through parking lots, to having little to no anxiety in less than 5 visits to a psychologist. It 100% does help.
While America focuses a great deal on health, the attention needs to start zeroing-in on mental health. Receiving the assistance and care these individuals need can give them back years of their lives and allow them to truly enjoy and live life to its fullest.
We need the education. We need the service. And we need to start now.