A few weeks ago, a letter to the editor was sent in declaring that mental health is not a crisis or an epidemic. I wholeheartedly disagree. The issues of mental health that people across the world struggle with on a daily basis matters more than any of us realize.
I believe that at some point in life, everyone struggles with their mental health. But for some, this struggle is much more serious.
There are a number of reasons that mental health matters to me and that I think it should matter to everyone. In a previous column, I talked about my dear friend who committed suicide my senior year. After this event, I truly started to become passionate about mental health. Recently, this passion was refueled.
Last night, I got a phone call from a friend of mine asking if I had been on Facebook in the past hour or so. After telling her no, she explained to me what was happening and I instantly jumped online to prove to myself it was true. Someone we love had done the unthinkable and attempted to take their own life.
The moments that unraveled immediately are now a bit of a blur. I know at first, I was left in shock. But as those feelings faded and reality set in, I realized what this would mean not only to me, but to all of my friends from high school and the family who also love this individual.
Luckily, thanks to the quick action of so many people from my hometown, that person did not succeed. Paramedics located them and they were transported to the hospital. Physically, they are now going to be okay. But mentally, they are now literally having to fight for their life.
This is why mental health being declared as a crisis is so critical.
Mental health matters because of the students across the nation who are struggling with anxiety, depression or anorexia and have contemplated taking their own life.
Mental health matters because of the families who are watching someone they love struggle with the effects of poor mental health.
Mental health matters because of people like my friends and myself who get news that could have changed all of our lives
More than anything, mental health matters because of people like my friend, who have hit a point where they are convinced they do not matter to the rest of the world.
I’m not saying the writer of that letter has not dealt with or seen the struggles of mental health in their own life. But, to declare that mental health is not a crisis because of percentages is insulting. To me, and to so many others, the percentages are not what matters.
The people are what matters. Forget the percentages that may or may not be an accurate representation. When you put it into the perspective of that individual, their friends and their family all facing these hardships, it is obvious that it matters so much more.
Once again, I encourage anyone who may be struggling with mental health or knows someone who is to reach out for help. And for those of you who are not concerned with the mental health crisis, I ask you to educate yourselves so that you can help in raising awareness and dropping the stigma. People like my friend desperately need you to join the fight.
— Shelby is a freshman at USU with a passion for writing. She loves people, the harp and getting to spend time in Idaho with her family.