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Cornell Student Articles on Topical Affairs

Mental health epidemic moves into central focus worldwide

Our health is something that we are forever trying to bring to its peak. We always want to be at our healthiest, and it sometimes can come as quite a shock when we realise that we have some unhealthy habits that flourish and balloon, dragging down our overall health in the process. Habits are such that we become so used to them, that we often (if not always) do not even realise when they are decidedly unhealthy for us to continue with. This is true of all contributing factors in our whole health, from physical health to mental health, and everything in between. Mental health, for example, is a topic that is increasingly coming to the forefront of public discussion and awareness, and as more people join the ongoing conversation, it is quickly becoming a global focus. This is a move that is, frankly, long overdue. Every year, tens of millions of individuals around the world suffer with mental health struggles, and there has historically been a lack of open support for the individuals struggling. Until now.

Mental health is an interesting paradox. This is an aspect of whole health that has one of the biggest impacts on how we function and thrive, and yet there has been the biggest stigma attached to its reaches over the years. People have long correlated mental health struggles with weakness. While this is not the truth of the matter, it is a perspective of mental health that has ballooned to become a globally-recognised approach to mental health struggles. This is not only untrue to its roots, but it is incredibly damaging to the individuals who want to reach out for help. Not only do they feel isolated in their pain, but they see no viable support systems to help them when they need it most. This has proven to have devastating consequences over the years, and it is something that has ultimately become something of an epidemic of global proportions.

People who suffer with mental health struggles have sadly become used to being their own cheerleaders, finding their own ways of combating the struggles they face within themselves. Whether it is finding recreational comfort in natural medications (whether it be through the use of a magic mushrooms dosage calculator, or a pot brownie to relax a little bit at the end of a hard day), or any other manner of coping mechanisms, people have become used to being the only person who is on their side, helping them find their way through the smoke. Some people unfortunately take advantage of less-healthy medications and substances, and the results can be devastating, even fatal in some cases. Now, as the numbers increase yet again, there is a stronger push to remedy the issues at their roots, establishing a firmer foothold for support for the individuals who need it most. It could not come soon enough, but better late than never.

Establishing the ways to adequately help individuals who struggle with mental health issues is something that people are beginning to shift into central focus. More and more, people are reaching out to those they think may be struggling, allowing them to conceive of a world where there is honest and open support, instead of belittlement and shame. In the past, mental health has been shunned as a serious condition because quite often the effects are internal, whereas the effects of physical health issues often present themselves aesthetically, making it more obvious and ultimately undeniable that a problem exists. The scars of mental health strain are invisible to the naked eye quite a lot of the time, but the shattering truth is that they sometimes manifest physically – and often too late. The fight to raise mental health awareness has kicked into high gear, and millions are joining the battle, forging a stronger support network for those suffering now and in the future. Whether it is personal support or professional assistance, the goal is always the same.

Mental health issues have been overwhelming for years now, but the focus on them and remedying them, providing support and understanding for those struggling with them, has long been dwindling, even despite the rising demand for attention and solutions. Finally, mental health is beginning to get the attention to detail that it so rightly deserves, and there is something harrowing about just how dark the collective stigma surrounding mental health has become. As a society, we must do better. This is not good enough, and we cannot allow for this to be the norm. Thankfully, there has been a rising call to action that has been answered around the world, and more and more people are joining the call, actively making the choice to become part of the solution, as opposed to part of the problem. Finally, we are seeing action meet demand, and while this is just the beginning, it is a promising beginning nonetheless.

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