By Caroline Kuehner Freedom Forum Student
A rising issue that is making a huge impact on our everyday way of life
Why is mental health so ignored in the world? Almost 50 percent of adolescents have had a mental disorder at some point in their life. That is 12.8 percent of the total population or roughly 42 million people (from 2019). Compared to 8.1 billion people this number may seem small it is minimal by comparison, but imagine 42 million people standing side by side in a single room. It would be a gigantic room. This is why mental health is ignored because people compare that 42 million to 8.1 billion and think “42 million is not that much.” Yet, in reality, no one can imagine being around 42 million people, because it is a giant amount of people.
It may be surprising, but mental health is a serious issue that is becoming increasingly worse throughout America. In the 2020-2021 school year, 60 percent of college students were qualified to have at least one mental health issue. In another study from 2015, on the impact of mental health issues on college students, 30 percent of students were impacted by stress, 22 percent of students were impacted by anxiety, 20 percent of students were impacted by sleep difficulties, and 14 percent of students were impacted by depression. These numbers are insane, considering that students are dealing with these issues, and to many people, mental health is considered a small issue.
Furthermore, bad mental health can have a huge negative effect on people's lives. Especially when they are left untreated. Jody Freed, the director of special education at East Penn School District, said “Mental health can have a huge impact on someone's “normal” behavior. I have seen too many successful teens disengage from school, friends, and family following the pandemic. Teens have gotten used to socializing through their phones, playing video games with friends from their rooms, and therefore become overly anxious or overwhelmed when interacting with others in person.” It is clear that as the world continues to evolve around us new technologies are being created and become a distinct part of our lives. Furthermore, the effects of these new technologies are continuing to show large effects on mental health, and people who use them. Yet with what Ms. Freed said, it is not necessarily the technology that is causing these problems, and removing the devices from teenagers may even worsen how they feel. It also seems that there is a large difference in opinion between older and younger generations, especially regarding technology.
Even with the new opinions that younger generations are spreading around the world, there are still stigmas surrounding the topic of mental health. Especially with parents, stigmas against mental health can have a serious negative impact on kids. Imagine a child trying to talk to a parent about suicidal thoughts and the parent shuts them out. This could be very harmful to the child, making them less likely to open up and speak to someone who could help them. The stigma around mental health is one of the main reasons people will not speak up about their issues. It makes people scared about losing friends, family, and people close to them because of their mental health problems. Stigma against mental health needs to be ended so that people's lives will not be.
Mental health is a rising issue for people all around the world and if the problems surrounding mental health continue to get worse, they may never get better. People need to work together to get rid of the stigmas surrounding mental health so that people can get help more easily. If no one tries to help, then it will just continue to get worse until every teen all around the world is struggling with mental health. Just a reminder: if you or someone you know are struggling with mental health, make sure to reach out to anyone. Admitting that you need help is the first step to getting better.
By Brian Renshaw Jr., Freedom Forum Student
College sports are taking a new turn, which can have a positive and negative effect on the sports world as a whole. Are the new playoff structures, television deals, endorsements, and lifestyle changes for student-athletes really worth it?