The world as we know it today can be mentally exhausting and draining. The expectations we feel forced to deliver on a day-to-day basis in spite of our mental state can cause us to feel like our emotions aren’t valid enough to be taken into consideration. This is not nearly true, however, due to the competitive and stressful nature of today’s society many of us have learned to lock up our feelings where they don’t belong. Not being properly in touch with your own emotions can lead to detrimental habits, mental disorders and addictions, including excessive smoking or drinking, acts of infidelity, as well as anxiety and depression disorders. Most people today elicit so much concern about habits that affect one’s physical health, but could these bad habits such as excessive smoking or drinking be caused due to a poor mental health state? Therefore, instead of trying to improve the physical state, one must come to terms with why they initially began the bad habit. Usually, it is due to an unmet need they have previously experienced which resulted in a decline in their mental state. Nevertheless, the primary issue with our society today is that we have normalized all these bad habits which has allowed most to ignore the underlying problem.
Recently, global governments have dedicated an immense amount of resources towards the Covid-19 pandemic which has been an incredibly fortunate and successful investment. However, due to the excessive focus on the physical pandemic, they have been neglecting the mental one that has also been taking the lives of many each year and disabling thousands more. Pandemics are feared due to their rapid spread in nature and their countless victims and blindly, this has been the current situation for the silent pandemic as well. Nearly one billion people suffer from depression, anxiety, isolation, drug and alcohol abuse, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and eating disorders. Moreover, Project Hope has recorded that somebody commits suicide every 40 seconds, with men taking their lives twice as much as women do. Contrastingly, women suffering from depression are twice as common compared to men.
Although the occurrence of COVID-19 has caused a 25% increase in numbers concerning anxiety and depression, mental health issues were already on the rise long before 2020. According to social psychologist Jonathan Haidt, the dramatic increase in teenage mental illness had a prominent rise in 2012, primarily due to the transition of phone-based childhoods. The numbers in the United States have been devastating as the amount of female American adolescents suffering from depression increased by 145% and 161% for boys between the years 2004 and 2020. Furthermore, suicide rates among teenage girls increased by 82% between 2010 and 2020. Additionally, the US Center for Disease Control reported that the number of young women who reported feeling hopeless and sad increased by 60% between 2010 and 2020 as well. Nonetheless, this is a global crisis as there is an unfortunate shortage of mental health professionals considering that multiple lower-income nations have less than one mental health specialist for every 100,000 people. In spite of this, even though there are proper treatments available, 2/3 of those who need help do not receive it.
Woefully, the cultural aspects of a society play a significant role in making patient care more difficult to obtain. Many are forced to keep their mental struggles hidden due to the stigmatism that comes with expressing mental health problems in certain nations and cultures. Simply admitting that you suffer from a mental disorder could possibly cost you critical factors in your life including your job, partner, and friends. There is an existing imbalance as opposite reactions would be experienced if one was suffering from a physical condition rather than a mental one and this is when the world becomes blind. It is quite ironic as the mind can control the body, but the body cannot control the mind. Therefore in many situations, it is the mental condition that needs to be considered and not the physical one.
Ultimately, having a poor mental state is nothing to be ashamed of, truthfully, within the world we currently live in, it would be quite odd to have never experienced an imperfect state of mind. The societal aspects of today within the workforce, or social media or simply just general expectations from others can be incredibly difficult to achieve and could cost us a healthy state of mind. Moreover, unpleasant experiences are inevitable, and sometimes they affect us more than we think they did, which can cause us to sacrifice our health or sabotage healthy relationships simply due to unmet needs of the past. All things considered, one’s mental health should not be ignored, contrarily, society must shed more light on how truly salient it can be.
Featured image: NATHANAEL KIEFER (GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO)