The Voice

Mental illness, no longer taboo

Sabin Laskoski, Contributing Writer

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     Within the past decade, the discussion of mental health has been an everchanging and immensely sensitive topic. With the increase of individuals affected by differing forms of mental health ranging from anxiety disorders such as OCD and depression to serious forms of schizophrenia, the discoveries and treatments of mental illness are no longer shunned in our society.

     Many mental illness sufferers stand strong in the face of their illnesses and speak about what it truly means to battle with their own minds daily. The seriousness of the statistics speaks louder than any man or woman could on social media, however, as the numbers of individuals affected by mental illness and the rates of suicide cast a dark shadow onto the already macabre topic of mental health.

     According to Newsweek, within the United States alone, around 42.5 million adults are diagnosed with a form of mental illness. That number then translates to approximately 18 percent of the total American population or one in every five persons. Almost every individual is somehow affected by the brutal nature of mental illness.

     From 1999-2014, the rate of suicide within the United States has increased by 24 percent. The website dosomething.org, which is dedicated to releasing news, information and statistics pertaining to mental health and suicide, found that nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide per year. That number increases more than 30 times worldwide, with approximately 1,000,000 people taking their lives each year.

     With an increase in mental illness not just within the United States, it is paramount to diagnose and treat mental illness as quickly as possible.

     There are numerous medications and methods of therapy available for mental illness sufferers, and even support groups are seeing a rise in popularity. Those who struggle with mental illness no longer need to fight their battles alone and or fear being judged for having a disorder.

     The discussion of mental illness and the increase in awareness of the issue has aided in helping guide sufferers through their daily lives; letting those people know that they aren’t insane or disturbing for having a brain disorder.

     Within college campuses there are mental health centers that offer aid to college students in need of help, and non-student sufferers have differing forms of counseling and other outside treatment options.

     Popular culture has also played a massive role in helping the younger generation deal with mental illness. Musical groups such as Twenty One Pilots and Cymbals Eat Guitars write many of their songs based upon the struggles of depression and OCD in their daily lives and in the lives of others.

     Tyler Joseph, the singer of Twenty One Pilots, wrote a popular song by the name of Guns for Hands to shed light on the fact that many people within his fanbase struggle with depression, and that it hurts him to see them struggling with that illness.

     Cymbals Eat Guitars played live on KEXP and singer Joseph D’Agostino mentioned in a brief set of questions that their album LOSE was based upon the death of a close friend. The death led D’Agostino to deal with the sadness of losing a friend, sending him through bouts of depression and drug use.

     Music and the arts play major roles in acknowledging the presence of mental illness, but they also allow mental illness sufferers to distance themselves from their illnesses. Within history there have been numerous poets and musicians alike who explored the horrors of mental illness, with one of the most prominent figures being Edgar Allan Poe.

     Mental Health America explains that, within many of his short stories, Poe took the position of numerous characters with differing mental illnesses. While Poe never mentioned specific illnesses, it can be concluded that many of his stories dealt with mental illness. Compared to the time of Edgar Allan Poe, we have come so far as a society in accepting the seriousness of mental illness and the destruction that it causes.
Instead of denying mental illness and only recognizing it as a sort of taboo, we have truly begun to band together as a society to realize the severity and impact of it. As more people are affected by mental illness, hopefully society will continue to support those who are victims to a terrifying disease.

Sabin is a freshman English major . He is a contributing writer for The Voice

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Mental illness, no longer taboo