Destroying Stigmas around Mental Health
I live in a relatively large suburb of Boston named Acton, where I attend the Acton-Boxborough Regional High School. The high school is ranked #16 out of 347 in Massachusetts public high schools, thus making it a highly competitive environment. Unfortunately, the high levels of stress certainly don’t help those who struggle with their mental health. “Six young people from two small towns lost to suicide in 30 months. A cumulative grief that seems without answers, a weary desperation to make it stop, and the inescapable fear it may happen again.” - The Boston Globe. A little over two years ago I lost a close friend of mine to suicide. His death not only severely impacted his family and friends, but also the community as a whole. Even people who had never met him grieved for his loss because that is the impact that suicide has in a community.
As mentioned before, men are far less likely to ask for help when they’re struggling, many in fear that they’ll seem weak. But that stigma is very dangerous and needs to be removed. A good step towards preventing suicides from continuing is taking the fear of asking for help away, providing the right channels and resources. Performing required suicide/mental health screenings on the entire student population, just like they do vision tests and scoliosis screenings so that people don’t feel singled out, would be a step closer towards fixing the issue. On top of that, educating teachers and staff about the warning signs of mental illness as well as making sure students have access and are educated about suicide prevention hotlines could make a drastic change.
Although no method is proved to be superior to others, it’s important that actions are taken, and something is done about this huge issue that impacts communities as a whole as well as individuals.
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