Prompt: The research paper will run between 8-10 pages, will integrate sources from a diverse array of resources using MLA style, will have a clear thesis/research question as the backbone of the paper, will avoid fallacious rhetoric, and will construct logical arguments to advance the ideas in the paper.
The Importance of Destigmatizing Mental Health
Good mental health is one of the most important parts of an individual's well-being. Without it, every day could be a struggle to simply get out of bed. With mental illnesses affecting 1 out of 5 adults in the United States, it seems the stigma around poor mental health would be low (Fontana). This is not the case. The stigma surrounding the emotional well-being of others is still very present and dangerous. Ranging from struggling with social responsibilities and tasks to self-harm. Poor mental health can affect anything and everything. Overall, mental health is something that needs to be addressed for everyone's general well-being. The negative connotations associated with poor mental health keep people from for the help they deserve daily. People are scared of being judged and viewed as weak. When in reality someone is brave to admit they are struggling and need support. Additionally, the stigma leaves the mentally ill feel ignored, misunderstood, and alone. If someone feels constantly isolated in their mental illness like no one understands their pain it can lead to a very dark headspace. The stigmatization of mental health is a reoccurring setback for people all over the world. Removing the stigma of poor mental health is needed to take back the power of asking for help and to support those who are struggling. Poor mental health must be destigmatized because it is an important issue by openly talking and fighting against other's mental struggles in the workplace and educating students in school on mental health.
Mental health is a serious issue. Our mental health is what allows us to function properly every day. From doing tasks, making decisions, interacting with others, and much more. Poor mental health can drain your motivation and make simple things much harder to accomplish. Coping with mental illness is hard but is something that has to be done. As the rate of individuals with mental illness continues to rise so should the seriousness that mental health is talked about with. According to "The mental health crisis among America's youth is real-and staggering," major depression has increased from 7 to 15 percent for 20 to 21-year-olds from 2009 to 2017 as well as increased 69% for 16 to 17-year-olds. An increase in hopelessness and anxiety for young adults was also noted (Twenge). Mental illness is rising and it is devastating. Everyone has stuck with their mind for the rest of their lives. Learning to care for the mind is an important step of being happy in life. If mental illness is ignored it can never be helped. Pushing a problem away does not make it disappear. As more people learn to understand their struggles are mental illness the more everyone should be doing to support them. Being mentally ill is a huge burden and issue that must be faced and taken seriously.
Poor mental health is also stigmatized daily, and it is causing extreme effects. The stigmatization of mental health can isolate individuals as they don't reach out for the help they deserve. With the fear of being judged and criticized many don't talk about their struggles. In the "Effects of school-based interventions on mental health stigmatization: a systematic review" the author describes stigmatization as "discriminatory attitudes, stereotypes, labels, and behavior, which is devaluing, discrediting, marginalizing, disempowering or excluding and rejecting individuals" (Schachter). This stigma is found in mental health when people automatically associate negative feelings with poor mental health or discriminate against those who struggle. Some people believe reaching out for help admits that there is a problem. This can be a terrifying thing to admit for a lot of people. With the public eye constantly watching others and judging all actions and decisions a stigma around mental health was almost guaranteed to be formed. The idea of reaching out became shamed and weak. The importance of destigmatizing mental health would be to help those who want the help but are scared of it. In the same article, a survey is introduced that confirmed a large number of the public hold these prejudicial views. With the rate of mental illness and stigmatization rising, the cycle of needing help but also fearing the stigma seems endless. The stigmatization the public holds needs to be decreased so seeking help is normalized.
The Stigma surrounding mental health not only keeps people from reaching out for support but also affects their everyday lives. The author of the previous article, "Effects of school-based interventions on mental health stigmatization: a systematic review" also states:
Stigma also insinuates itself into policy decisions, access to care, health insurance, employment discrimination, and research allocations and priorities. Unfortunately, people who have a mental illness also stigmatize themselves. They make few demands and their expectations are frighteningly low-with grave consequences. Stigma can kill. (Jamison)
The stigma of mental health affects the reputation of all mental illnesses. Policymakers, employers, and insurance companies can all discriminate against those who are mentally ill. All by discriminating against someone with mental illness. Unfair policies can be made as well as insurance companies or jobs looking at individuals differently because of their diagnosis. These unfair actions are uncontrolled by the public but are dealt with daily. This is unfair and must be addressed. The stigmatization of mental health would play a role in helping undo this damage. As also mentioned people with mental disorders tend to stigmatize themselves. Mental illness can extremely damage someone's self-worth. Allowing them to lower their expectations of themselves and settle for less than they deserve. The stigmatization of mental health allows others and individuals to be treated as less than the mentally stable. With the current stigma that surrounds mental illness everywhere, it is very clear that something has to be done. Everyone needs to work together to destigmatize mental health.
Mental health can and needs to be destigmatized by openly talking about/ taking action against poor mental health in the workplace. With the daily struggles that come with poor mental health, it is a given that the workplace could be a challenging thing to negotiate. With illnesses like anxiety that can make social interaction and communication difficult or depression that can leave you unmotivated and exhausted it makes sense that work productivity would be affected. According to "Mental health crucial in the workplace: [RedEye Edition,]" "[Poor mental health] affecting about 6 percent of employees each year and costing more than $30 billion annually in lost productivity" (Mental Health Crucial). This is a significant loss. Not only are companies losing money but their employees are struggling in a place they spend most of their time at. No morally correct company would want this for its employees. Additionally, 73% of employees have not told their bosses about their depression and half of that percent was scared their bosses finding out would result in their job being at risk (Fontana). A cycle once again continues. Employees are performing worse because of their mental health but can not ask for support out of fear of losing their jobs. Nothing can get better if employees can not share their struggles. Employers need to take initiative to support their employees. Without this innovative companies will continue to lose money as productivity decreases and employees will continue to struggle in silence.
Luckily some employers are working with their employees to effectively address and destigmatize their mental health needs. They are trying to destigmatize mental health and take back the conversation. This is a beneficial move to the company and individual employees. An example of destigmatizing mental health in the workplace can include things like more days off or allowing sick days to also be mental health days. Allowing sick days to be taken as mental health days helps to break down the idea that mental health is not as important as physical health. Our minds are as important as our bodies and should be treated as much. California state senator Anthony Portantino, a mental health supporter, states:
If you sprain your ankle, we do not ask how bad it is, or whether it justifies missing work or school. We trust the person to get evaluated and the doctor to come to an informed decision. We are not talking about giving students an excuse to stay home - we are talking about treating this illness as we would any other illness. (Koran)
The same idea needs to be applied to the workplace. Taking care of mental health should be no different than taking care of physical health. Other ways companies such as American Express are destigmatizing mental health by offering free counseling and access to mental health professionals. This works to reduce the stigma by allowing employees to ask for help when it's needed. Employees can feel comfortable reaching out to licensed professionals. This opportunity also allows employees to not have to worry about the financial aspects of supporting their health. HubSpot Inc is doing something very similar. This Boston software company allows their employees unlimited vacation days. The main goal is to allow employees to take off the day when they need it without having to explain their reasoning. Employees can take the day to rest and recharge, without judgment or fear of losing their job. HubSpot has also created a group called ZenSpot that prompts self-care with medication rooms built into the main office (Fontana). A supportive group allows others to share their struggles together and open up about the conversation of mental health. Companies like American Express and HubSpot are actively trying to end the stigma surrounding mental health. If employees feel comfortable taking care of themselves they can also take care of their work. Actions like these can prompt the conversation of mental health to decrease the number of employees who fear losing their jobs over their illness. Poor mental health should always be a conversation not a reason to be fired on the spot. Hopefully, other companies follow a similar approach and start to support their employees. The more conversation and actions being taken to normalize mental health the more power the stigma will lose. Companies have the power to end the mental health stigma in their workplace.
Mental health education and acceptance in school are needed to decrease the stigmatization of mental health. Poor mental health is an important and real issue for students. As previously mentioned mental health is very important to maintain. Mental health for students can be very difficult to manage. With the stress of homework, tests, classes, and the social aspects that school contains, many students can develop poor mental health. Some might be overly anxious or depressed while others are battling their struggles outside of the classroom. Mental health is something all students struggle with at one point or another. According to "Students' benefits and barriers to mental health help-seeking," "32% of university students report having mental health problems." This is more than 3 out of every 10 students. This is more than 3 out of everyone 10 students. In the same article, it is also noted that 6% of college students seriously considered suicide, and 1% attempted to end their lives. No one would ability try to take away their life without hitting their breaking point. The mental health student's experience is important. No one should hit that kind of breaking point. Poor mental health is exhausting and students do not deserve to go through that much pain without help. Mental health issues in schools are valid and need to be addressed.
Mental health education in school has been shown to help to destigmatize mental health. When mental health education is brought into school students learn more about empathy for those who struggle and get comfortable with the idea of needing help. According to "College students are forming mental-health clubs - and they're making a difference: Student-run groups are associated with increased awareness of mental health issues, reduced stigma and a rise in "helping behaviors," a new study finds." schools that incorporate mental health-related programs help to reduce stigma and bring awareness to others struggles (Nutt.) With more of an understanding of others struggles, students learn empathy and can see the need for support mentally ill students deserve. An understanding of others' mental health can help to end the cycle of stigma and reaching out. If students learn why it's important to get the help they are less likely to judge others for needing extra support. The idea is no longer than a person with mental illness is weak but strong for reaching out for help. Educating younger students will allow them to grow up with the idea that it's okay to not be okay and educating older students will continue to remind them of the support out there. According to a study titled, "Students' benefits and barriers to mental health help-seeking," it is recommended that "Health professionals should target students with educational programs about positive outcomes related to receiving mental health services and work with treatment centers to reduce barriers for receiving services" (Vidourek). Reducing the stigma is the first step to improve the general student population's mental struggles. Students need to know that it's okay if others or themselves need help.
In conclusion, good mental health is fundamental to any human being. The importance of mental health comes from the ability to function and have a pleasant time in life. Without good mental health, life would be dull. Poor mental health can be very destructive, leaving someone hopeless and alone. Constantly feeling misunderstood can be very depressing. Asking for support when it is needed is very important. Problems will not be solved by ignoring them so it is necessary to ask for support. With the support of others, mental illness can become less threatening. Mental illnesses can be a lot for one person to take on all on their own, but asking for help can be frightening. In order for people to ask for help, mental health has to be destigmatized. The discrimination of those who are mentally ill needs to stop. With constant judgment and disapproval, no one will want to ask for help. A cycle of needing help but not being able to receive it out of fear can seem helpless. Workplaces need to take the first step and talk about mental health or take action against poor mental health. When workplaces take the first steps to destigmatize mental health they are showing their support to their employees. When employees are supported their fear of asking for help in the future is weakened. Destigmatizing mental health in the workplace can include things like mental health days off. This was shown in places like HubSpot. Companies are aimed to give their employees time to take care of themselves without the worry of losing their jobs. It is also equally important for schools to be taking similar steps. It is encouraged that schools educate the students on mental health to grow empathy for those who struggle. This will also encourage those who struggle to ask for help. This will help break the terrifying cycle of needing help but being scared to get it. Other options in schools to destigmatize mental health include programs that bring awareness to others struggles. This has proven to be effective in other schools across the nation. The stigmatization of mental health needs to be decreased because good mental health is important. With the help of schools and workplaces, the stigmatization can be decreased with conversation and action. Let the cycle of needing but not receiving help break. Destigmatizing mental health, so everyone can receive the help they deserve, can start today.
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