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Opinion: More mental health awareness is necessary

(Image courtesy of Max Pixel.)

Mental health is a phrase that means a lot for many people. Many of us deal with it in different ways, while others know loved ones who have suffered from mental health problems. However, people who have and are suffering from mental health aren’t alone. Throughout the years, it has become easier for people to come out and speak out about mental health. Celebrities have also been shedding light on this tough topic and sharing their experiences.

Senior advocate from the wellness center of Academy of Medical Arts Mary Stevens said, “Teens…have been affected by mental health and maintaining their mental health. In Carson we live around so many other minorities where they’re growing up in an environment that mental health isn’t really talked about,” she continues with, “In Filipino families, or in Latino families they just shrug it off, or they completely disregard it.”

It is a slippery slope when it comes to talking about mental health because people don’t really know how to words things in the right way, and at times can rub off negatively. They claim it can be “uncomfortable” or “inappropriate,” but in reality, this only worsens the condition that people are fighting. In some cases, some people might feel ashamed or feel hurt by these comments.

“Every age group is affected, though numbers show that the people who have a higher chance of being affected is childhood to twenty-four and they are in higher need of mental health services but they are the least likely to ask for help and the least likely to recognize that they need help,” Psychiatric Social Worker (PSW) Felicia Aldana, from Academies of Education and Empowerment, said. “A lot of people don’t know how to deal with it, or who to go to for help, or how to ask for that help. I also think that it’s important for people to be asking for help because we all in one point in our lives might struggle with some kind of mental health concerns whether it’s just anxiety or depression which are both very common. When celebrities talk about it and say that it’s okay to seek the help you need, it makes others feel comfortable to speak up about it.”

In the past few years, it has been a bit easier to speak up about mental illness, especially because some people are losing their lives to it. Some have involuntarily gone down that path and are scared to lose their lives to an illness that can be treated. Now that celebrities are speaking about the topic, it has encouraged others to do the same — speak up and seek help — because they know they are not alone.

“Mental health can be very difficult to openly talk about. It’s hard to let emotions turn into words. Sometimes you get mentally blocked due to fear and anxiety of what the outcome might be, so that’s why suppressing it seems like a viable option at the time but really isn’t,” Kenneth Perez, a senior from Carson High School said. “People though do take mental health seriously, but they often only acknowledge the topic, and then they lose seriousness because they’re okay themselves jokingly making fun until someone they know gets in harm’s way.”

If you are dealing with or know someone who may be dealing with any kind of mental illness, don’t be afraid to reach out to a school counselor, a PSW or a teacher for help. Yes, it might be an uncomfortable topic to share out loud, but over time and the more you seek help, the better it can get.

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