Staff editorial: Mental health awareness alone is not enough

January 29, 2018 — by Jeffrey Xu

Without a doubt, mental health awareness has been on the rise recently. In fact, according to a study done by the Willis Tower Watson group, nine out of every 10 employers believes that mental health is a major issue that needs to be addressed.

Despite the seemingly positive trends, it is clear that awareness in itself is not enough. With one in every five Americans suffering from mental health problems, this becomes highly problematic in the workplace, where symptoms can manifest themselves in the form of severe procrastination, irritability and exhaustion.

Worst yet, mental illnesses can dramatically impact the physical health of a person. A recent study done by MQ Mental Health showed that mental illnesses such as bipolar disease and depression are linked with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and increased risk of dying from cancer.

This is highly alarming information, given that 66 percent of people who have mental health conditions have never even attempted to seek help. Employers need to introduce to their employees  diverse methods of treatment that are now available, so that each and every individual can find what works for them.

According to Mental Health America, available forms of mental health treatment include psychotherapy, peer support, medication, support group, art therapy and more. Given the myriad of options that mental health patients can choose from, along with the supportive medical community, individuals should be more encouraged to seek help.

In turn, this would not only benefit the individual, but also the productivity of a company or organization as a whole. An individual who can work at their highest level of efficiency can do much better work than if they are burdened by mental health issues, and the accumulation of all the employees who can be a better version of themselves has a magnanimous impact on the company in the long run.

Another issue that society needs to address is the negative stigma associated with people with mental conditions. Many look down on those with mental health issues as lesser humans, which really isn’t the case. Everybody has their own issues, many factors of mental health are completely out of a person’s control.

In a study done by the American Psychological Association, only one in four mental health patients believed that people are kind and caring toward people with mental health conditions.

It is important for people to pay attention to what kind of language they use regarding mental health, since it can be a big deal for the patient.

The school has recently taken steps to combat mental health issues among others, in its Speak Up for Change week speeches and activities.

While this is good progress, there is still a lot more we can do in terms of reaching out to those in need of mental health services. The school should implement more events aimed at addressing the issue and letting those with mental health problems know that there are always people on campus, like the trained medical professionals in the CASSY center, who are more than willing to help.

After all, the worst feeling for a mental health patient is to think that they’re alone, which, as the numbers show, is totally not the case.

 

 

 

 

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