Whether it’s through a friend, family member, personal experience or the news, most college students have encountered mental health issues. Mental health problems can affect every college student in different ways; it may motivate that person to be their greatest self, but it can also distract them from their everyday lives.
When one of my family members passed away due to struggles with their mental disorder, I knew that my life would be forever changed. My opinion regarding mental health changed, and I had a new, profound outlook on the effect mental illness has on people.
Recently, another family member of mine was struggling with the stress of school, and his mental state was not stable. This was happening during finals week of my first term and it distracted me, but I knew I had been in this situation before.
My school work is a priority, so I had to make the choice between being there for my family member or making sure that I would do well on my finals. I chose to find a balance between supporting my family member and ensuring that I would do well on my first finals of college.
Having someone close to you struggle with mental health is difficult as you have to choose between investing your time into being there for them or spending your time on personal endeavors. You want to do both, but it’s hard to balance.
The topic of mental health has changed over the years because it has been misinterpreted within our society. Some people joke around on the topic of mental illness, when in reality those people probably haven’t had personal experience with it. It’s difficult to fully understand struggles with mental illness if you haven’t dealt with them personally.
Depression is one of the biggest killers in America, and one of the reasons is because there is so much stigma surrounding the topic. Help is widely available, but people may be afraid to ask since they worry about what other people think of them.
As human beings, we should support each other when struggling, regardless of what the situation may be. Although we may not know exactly what others are feeling, we can put ourselves in their shoes to make the situation more real to us as humans. Empathy helps the person to feel that there is a safe space for them.