The need for mental health education

By Lanthorn Editorial Board | 10/8/18 9:21am

editorial
GVL Editorial

National Depression Screening Day was Oct. 4 and Grand Valley's Counseling Center took part in screening students' mental health. The screenings served as a way to educate the community about the traits that may indicate a mental health concern and how to respond and treat them. The importance of this education can often be lost on those who believe their lack of mental health problems exempt them from knowing the warning signs. Now more than ever, it is imperative that everyone becomes educated on mental health to prepare themselves for future concerns from themselves or loved ones. 

The concept of mental health diseases has long been plagued with the stigma that mentally ill individuals are dangerous or threatening. This discrimination from society has made discussing mental health concerns a difficult feat. Many people today still view mental health problems as self-inflicted or an over-dramatization of a small concern. The stigma surrounding mental and emotional diseases has made the lives of those suffering with these illnesses even more difficult. 

This is why those suffering from a mental health illness can often experience belittlement and stigmatizing behavior from their own friends and family. These kind of judgments silence any dialogue surrounding the real problem and can lead to further health concerns. Individuals who may be experiencing mental health problems can potentially take drastic measures in response to discrimination from their loved ones. The stigma can also have a severely negative impact on the effectiveness of treatment and recovery for mental health patients.

This is why it is imperative that more people educate themselves on mental health and ways to support those who may be experiencing an emotional or mental disorder. Even though not all individuals will have mental health concerns, the education of these concerns are essential to defeating the stigma and improving the lives of those with mental illnesses. Knowing and understanding the traits that can indicate these disorders can help many people receive the care and treatment they need quickly and easily. 

Educating communities on how to acknowledge these mental incapacities can also prepare individuals for future concerns from themselves or those closest to them. The ability to recognize the symptoms of common mental and emotional disorders gives individuals an advantage to managing future illnesses. The ability to identify a health concern before worse symptoms occur can make the recovery process that much more effective. This creates a community that supports those who may be struggling and can prevent the many pitfalls associated with mental health illnesses. 

Taking the steps to learning about mental health and its impact on people's everyday lives can begin at the university counseling center. The counseling center offers a variety of resources on their website, gvsu.edu/counsel and in their office located in room 204 of the student services building on the Allendale campus. 

Becoming educated on mental health concerns can prepare individuals for future experiences with illnesses and show them how to support those struggling. Breaking down the stigma around mental health can help promote the kinds of discussion and treatment that improve the recovery of those with these illnesses. The ability to note potential concerns can save future lives and improve the lives of everyone, even those without mental health problems.

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