Suffering in Silence

Kayla Timmerman, Editor

Mental illness is a very real thing, and it always has been. So why is it something so commonly ignored and disregarded? Whether it is parents ignoring the signs of mental illness from their children, partners disregarding their significant others’ problems, or simply a person brushing off what they are going through as “just a phase,” mental illness is not taken as seriously as it should be. We need to pay attention and shine a light on this issue for the sake of the millions of people who suffer from mental illness.

Many people think that mental illness is uncommon and does not affect the average person. It’s tragic that people think this because it is the exact opposite. According to the World Health Organization, “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.” So, to put it into perspective, if our school has around 2,000 kids, around 500 of them do suffer from mental health conditions or will in the future. One thing we should keep in mind is to always look out for signs of someone who may be suffering in silence. Some signs include feeling sad more often than not, sleeping too much or not enough, eating too much or not enough, withdrawal from friends and family, and inability to cope with day-to-day problems. These signs don’t automatically mean someone has a mental illness, but it is always good to check on your friends or family if they show any of these signs. A simple “Do you need someone to talk to?” or “Has anything been bothering you recently?” means more than you may think.

Along with the 450 million people worldwide suffering from mental health conditions comes the different types of mental illnesses. According to Mental Health America, “There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness.” Some are pretty similar to each other with similar symptoms, with others being nowhere near similar. Some of the more well known disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorders. Each diagnosis has different treatments and medications to treat each specific condition. Most conditions can be coped with over time with the help of counseling and therapy, and the support of loved ones.

Overall, mental illness may be a sensitive subject to some people, but it is something we need to bring awareness to because it continues to be ignored by many. With as many people who suffer from it every day, there should be more people talking about it and wanting to make a difference in the lives of their loved ones who may suffer from these conditions. So, bring awareness to mental illnesses, acknowledge the impact it has on so many people’s lives, and always check up on your loved ones who may be suffering in silence.


* photo via Google Images under the Creative Commons license