An Open Letter To Society On Mental Illness
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

An Open Letter To Society On Mental Illness

The stigma needs to end.

An Open Letter To Society On Mental Illness

That person who tells you they've been diagnosed with depression is not just sad. That person you know with anxiety is not just nervous. They're sick. Quite frankly, they're just as sick as you would be if you had the flu. It's debilitating. Painful. It breaks you down. But the only difference is, the flu has a higher survival rate than those who deal with mental illness in their daily life. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. 42,773 people per year decide their life is no longer worth living. It's time for a change.

First and foremost, someone struggling with mental illness is not broken or damaged. Don't treat them as such. The biological view of mental illness is seen as a chemical imbalance in the brain. The imbalance usually lies somewhere in the levels of serotonin and dopamine, which are both neurotransmitters in the brain. So no, that person you know that has bipolar disorder isn't just moody, they have a chemical imbalance. They can't control it. What can be controlled is how this perceived. So many people nowadays don't take mental illness seriously. It's not a coincidence that around 46% of homeless individuals struggle with mental illness or that around half of the countries population of adolescents over the past few years have received treatment for mental illness. It's detrimental.

People who struggle with mental illness are less likely to find work, hold steady relationships, and be socially included in mainstream society due to the stigma surrounding them. Many people believe that those that have mental ill health are violent and dangerous, or even too "sad" to keep up the pace with everyone else.

This is far from true.

The best way to help end the stigma around the mentally ill is to educate yourself and those around you. Once you learn about it, you'll have a better understanding of what people battling these illnesses go through on a day to day basis. It'll be much easier to show compassion to them, rather than basing your treatment and view off of the unrealistic stereotypes. You don't have to go out and be the number one advocate for a mental health reform- unless you want to, of course- but gaining a greater knowledge and understanding of such a sensitive topic allows you to understand.

While being educated is great, you have to remember that each person with a mental illness is unique in their own way, so their treatment should be different. While schizophrenia and anxiety are coupled under the term mental illness, they both have extremely different effects on a person's life. While being conscious of this, remember that individuals suffering from any mental illness are not defined by it. They're a person. A beautiful person with a story, a life, and a purpose.

The most important thing to do is be there. If you know somebody struggling with a mental illness, show them love, compassion, and empathy, but don't treat them like a charity case.

It's time to change societies view of mental illness. It starts with one person. Who knows, maybe that person is you.

If you or somebody you know is considering suicide, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For more information, please visit

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
houses under green sky
Photo by Alev Takil on Unsplash

Small towns certainly have their pros and cons. Many people who grow up in small towns find themselves counting the days until they get to escape their roots and plant new ones in bigger, "better" places. And that's fine. I'd be lying if I said I hadn't thought those same thoughts before too. We all have, but they say it's important to remember where you came from. When I think about where I come from, I can't help having an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for my roots. Being from a small town has taught me so many important lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Keep Reading...Show less
​a woman sitting at a table having a coffee

I can't say "thank you" enough to express how grateful I am for you coming into my life. You have made such a huge impact on my life. I would not be the person I am today without you and I know that you will keep inspiring me to become an even better version of myself.

Keep Reading...Show less
Student Life

Waitlisted for a College Class? Here's What to Do!

Dealing with the inevitable realities of college life.

college students waiting in a long line in the hallway

Course registration at college can be a big hassle and is almost never talked about. Classes you want to take fill up before you get a chance to register. You might change your mind about a class you want to take and must struggle to find another class to fit in the same time period. You also have to make sure no classes clash by time. Like I said, it's a big hassle.

This semester, I was waitlisted for two classes. Most people in this situation, especially first years, freak out because they don't know what to do. Here is what you should do when this happens.

Keep Reading...Show less
a man and a woman sitting on the beach in front of the sunset

Whether you met your new love interest online, through mutual friends, or another way entirely, you'll definitely want to know what you're getting into. I mean, really, what's the point in entering a relationship with someone if you don't know whether or not you're compatible on a very basic level?

Consider these 21 questions to ask in the talking stage when getting to know that new guy or girl you just started talking to:

Keep Reading...Show less

Challah vs. Easter Bread: A Delicious Dilemma

Is there really such a difference in Challah bread or Easter Bread?

loaves of challah and easter bread stacked up aside each other, an abundance of food in baskets

Ever since I could remember, it was a treat to receive Easter Bread made by my grandmother. We would only have it once a year and the wait was excruciating. Now that my grandmother has gotten older, she has stopped baking a lot of her recipes that require a lot of hand usage--her traditional Italian baking means no machines. So for the past few years, I have missed enjoying my Easter Bread.

Keep Reading...Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments