people with mental illness need more than positive words, shouldn’t be blamed for their struggles


Isabelle Fletcher, Staff Writer

It’s well-known in our society that the amount of people getting diagnosed with mental illnesses is on a sharp incline. Following this is the privileged few who have never dealt with or struggled with mental illness. These people can be naive about how mental illnesses work, leading to damaging statements such as “just be happy” or “just trust the process”. 

Words such as these can cause those who are struggling to feel as though they aren’t doing things correctly or make them believe that they are the problem. In reality, it’s not their fault for their brain’s inability to function the same way as a neurotypical brain would. Comparing the way someone without a mental illness copes to how somebody with a mental illness copes creates a damaging situation where they can start to doubt the reality of their illness and believe they are just liars.

One example of these dangerous ways of handling mental illness is a YouTube video titled “YOU ARE NOT DEPRESSED, STOP IT!” by Prince Ea. In the video, he speaks about depression as though it was just a passing feeling that comes and goes. This is harmful, as it continues to perpetuate the thinking that what someone is dealing with can just be treated with a few inspirational words. 

Describing any mental illness as just a passing feeling or something that can be changed in a few, basic steps is detrimental. Upon this, there are people who believe that mental illnesses are fake and that those who claim to have one are just liars who are seeking attention and are seeking an excuse to act out. This causes some people to develop a fear of seeking out help, afraid they’ll get accused of this.

As a high school student I’ve seen and met many people who are currently dealing with mental disorders, I’ve talked friends down from anxiety attacks and have been a sounding board for friends that just needed to talk through their feelings. I have seen the repercussions of those who deny or wave off the importance of understanding mental health, but I’ve also seen the improvement of mental health awareness within our community.

To prevent the continuation of this toxic behavior we must come together as a community and remind ourselves that mental illnesses are just that: illnesses. They should be treated as such. We would never say to a blind person that they should “just see”, so why do we say “just focus” to those with ADHD. We need to check ourselves to make sure that we continue to treat mental disorders with as much importance as physical disorders.