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America’s Dire Need for Mental Health Education

With suicide being the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., a significant change is needed to increase the overall attention and care of mental health. Awareness is the first step toward healing, and implementing mental health education in schools, in all 50 states, could initiate a vital change for the mental health community. With the mid-term elections behind us and new faces in office, hopefully this will be a top priority.

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On average, there are 123 suicides per day. That equates to one suicide every 12 minutes of every day.

In addition to this suicide statistic, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports other findings which reveal the heartbreaking facts: For every suicide, there are 25 attempts, and each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide.

These numbers are begging for attention.

The average suicide rate per 100,000 individuals in the U.S. in 2007 was 11.27. By 2016, that number grew to 13.42.

This pressing issue influences much more than the 44,965 people affected directly, and there’s no more time to waste. Awareness is essential, and ignorance is anything but bliss.

This is not a simple issue. It’s complicated, personal and frequently misunderstood.

Earlier this year, bills passed in Virginia and New York require “classrooms to participate in mental-health education as part of their health and physical education courses,” according to an article published on Education Week.

As significant as this news is, 48 states are discluded from this crucial change. An expansion of mental health education is key to increasing the overall attention and care of mental illness and ultimately furthering America’s awareness and compassion toward the subject.

If elementary, middle and high school students learn the complexities of mental health, these younger generations will initiate a huge step in bettering the mental health community in years to come.

This addition to education systems will give young people the knowledge and resources to identify their disorders early on.

The familiarization of mental illness will reduce its social stigma, and the painful, unnecessary fear and shame that often comes with the topic will eventually fade.

Confusion, fear, a seemingly inevitable sense of shame. These emotions, which are commonly accompanied with mental illness, multiply when combined with the societal pressure that naturally comes along with it.

Not only would mental health education benefit those affected, but it will also equip those who may otherwise never understand.

Enduring a mental illness can feel isolating, but that isolation would be minimized in knowing friends and family have some understanding and, ideally, compassion.

This is the dream, this is the vision.

Implementing mental health education in schools is not a quick fix, but it is vital.

The on-average 44,956 people who end their lives each year — along with the millions of others who are crippling from anxiety, drowning in depression or losing sleep from the pain of their unwanted, reoccurring thoughts — are pleading for the change.

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Stacy Rohan

Stacy Rohan

Stacy Rohan is Lead Editor for MBU Timeline. Majoring in journalism with a psychology minor, Rohan is a member of the MBU lacrosse team and also coaches lacrosse part-time at Westminster Christian Academy. Stacy holds many goals for her future, but publishing a novel and coaching a college lacrosse team are at the top of her list.

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