Mental Illness Does Not Discriminate

Jordan Shorter, Sports Editor

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I find it a bit sad that I feel the need to write this article, but in the year 2019, there is still so much ignorance surrounding mental health.

As National Suicide Prevention Month just passed, this is the perfect time for this conversation. For starters, let’s talk about teenagers. As a teen myself, I can say that we’re going through many life changes, so it seems normal to feel stressed, anxious, and confused. However, there are still some adults who can’t wrap their minds around teens with mental illnesses. I have never been diagnosed with a mental illness such as depression myself, but I still get offended when I hear an adult comment on how teens are too young to struggle. It irks me when I hear an adult say, “They’re too young to be depressed” or “How could someone so young feel suicidal?” It really shocks me how some adults have the nerve to invalidate someone else’s reality. This is, essentially, ageism , as adults use their power to make the youth feel like their mental health is less important than that of others. It’s wrong and it needs to stop now.

Something else that I feel like needs to stop is automatically assuming that all wealthy, successful people are happy. Although I am well aware that a significant number of people’s issues stem from a lack of resources or poverty, this is certainly not the only factor that causes one to be mentally ill or unstable. Take Robin Williams. Everyone loved this guy, he made millions laugh, and he had a very successful career. However, this wasn’t enough. His success could not fill whatever void he needed to continue living.

Another prime example is the well-known designer Kate Spade. Ask any girl in school if they have heard of her, and they will most likely say yes. Her bags and wallets are used by young women from all over, including myself. So again, why would someone so well-known, successful, and loved by many end their own life and leave their family behind?

I am no doctor or expert but there is an obvious theme here. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. No matter your beauty, wealth, race, gender, or social status, mental illness can find you.

If nothing else, I want you all to remember to check up on each other – even the “happiest” person you know. Don’t make assumptions based on what you see on the outside.

Try to remember that most people are going through something that you have no idea about, so just be kind and compassionate.