The month of May is known for blooming flowers and spring showers. Ironically, many people are unaware that May is also Mental Health Awareness month.
On May 1, a 19-year-old freshman named Harrison Brown trekked onto campus of The University of Texas at Austin for a lunch break on a typical day of classes. It was a normal, humid Texas day.
Then tragedy struck, and devastatingly, Brown was fatally stabbed at approximately 1:46 p.m., according to CBS News.
As blood was seeping out of his shirt, he asked a nearby, unnamed student to call his mom one last time, according to NY Daily News.
We mourn for this young man who lost his life due to the actions of another person.
Kendrex J. White, a 21-year-old student at UT, stabbed four people on campus and of the four, three survived. White has been labeled, by some, a “sick and twisted” person.
Some people were stunned that White was capable of doing something like this. A friend of White said White did not seem to be an angry person or anything of that sort, according to an article in The New York Times.
On May 9, White claimed he struggled with several mental illnesses and was not in the right state of mind when he stabbed the students, according to an article in Statesman.
Sadly, Brown fell victim to the act of White, but it is unfortunate to think this tragedy possibly could have been prevented if White would have received adequate treatment for his mental health conditions.
We understand the extremity of this situation, and we acknowledge that not all people who struggle with mental illnesses will resort to this type of behavior.
This is just one instance in which an individual’s state of mental health has impacted other people. Mental health affects all people, whether we cope with mental illnesses on a personal level or not.
As the editorial board for Scroll, we believe mental illnesses can be overlooked by members of society due to the misconception that mental illnesses are insignificant compared to other illnesses. We have the power to raise awareness by thinking before we speak and embracing all people.
Nearly two-thirds of all people who struggle with mental illnesses neither seek nor receive treatment for their disorders, according to the World Health Report of 2016.
In some cases, mental illnesses can be even more detrimental than physical illnesses, according to mentalhealthamerica.gov.
When someone catches the common cold, they opt to take medication to resolve the issue. Whereas someone who has depression may be afraid to seek treatment, so they let the depression sulk inside of them.
Millennials nonchalantly post tweets in an non-serious manner, like:
“Ugh, kill me.”
“I was having an anxiety attack until I realized my team won the game.”
Some people who create such posts treat depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and other mental illnesses as if they are impertinent. Oftentimes, these posts can cause those who are overcoming these illnesses to keep quiet due to the fear of being treated differently or misunderstood.
In addition, it has also become increasingly difficult for people who have mental illnesses to reach out to professionals for support because the costs may be too high.
Therefore, it is our duty to encourage members of this community to become more aware of mental illnesses ourselves, then to help others.
We need to understand the differences between sadness and depression.
There are vital distinctions between stress and anxiety.
We should know the fine line between what we say and how we actually feel.
If we put forth more effort in thinking before posting or speaking, we can make a difference in the way people who struggle with mental illnesses receive treatment.
Professional assistance is available for those who wish to seek efficient treatment. Generally, experts can do an extensive amount to improve mental health conditions.
We do acknowledge that people who have mental illnesses have the choice to seek help and no one can force them to. Nonetheless, that does not mean they do not need our aid; we should try our best to help them, too.
Considering more than half of the population overcoming mental illnesses do not seek nor receive professional treatment, it is our duty as their acquaintances, colleagues and loved ones to simply think before we speak and to be there for them. Oftentimes, it is easier to confide in a friend than it is to vent to a stranger.
On April 28, a man approached a bridge in North London.
He climbed over the railing, prepared to jump to his death, when suddenly, members of the public reached out to him and embraced him for two hours, according to an article in The Daily News.
On May 8, Instagram launched a campaign to raise mental health awareness, according to Health.com. This campaign has encouraged thousands of users to create posts including the hashtag, “#HereForYou.”
By publishing posts using this hashtag, we do believe we can make a difference in raising awareness of the seriousness of mental health.
We, at Scroll, have chosen to be here for those who are coping with mental illnesses by reaching out to individuals who are struggling and choosing to embrace them for all they are. We urge you to join us.
Graphic created by Cameron Clements.