It is officially May, which means it is also Mental Health Awareness Month. In particular, though, Mental Health Awareness day is Thursday, May 10. Mental Awareness Month is all about being extra aware of those who struggle with any kind of mental disorder whether it be anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and any other type of disorder that affects one’s mental health.
Mental disorders affect nearly 50% of Americans today, with 20% being teens and young adults.
Now you may ask, how does someone get a mental disorder, are they born with it? The answer really depends.
However, most people typically experience something in their life that causes them to have a disorder. For example, a soldier who comes back from war might come home with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a disorder where an individual has experienced a terrifying event in their lifetime, and they suffer to overcome it. Someone with PTSD may experience but is not limited to flashbacks, anger, nightmares, loneliness, etc.. Anxiety, specifically social anxiety, is very common as well these days. Someone who suffers from social anxiety may get nervous around large or even crowds, struggling to maintain eye contact during a one on one conversation, or constant sweating of the hands and/or underarms when around others. Social anxiety or anxiety in general is typically caused from a more emotional/saddening event such as the loss of a family member, the divorce of parents, or even being horribly mistreated by someone they once thought was their friend. However, it has not been proven to be automatically born with a mental disorder.
Unfortunately, Oswego has many people in town who have admitted to having a mental disorder. Several students at OHS, all who wished to remain anonymous, about their struggles with a mental disorders shared their struggles.
One of the juniors I talked to told me, “My social anxiety is very bad and ruins my everyday life. I am that kid in the hallway who walks with my earbuds in and avoids making eye contact with everybody. The only time I feel calm and free is when I am at home.” I asked this same student if they have told anybody about their feelings and they unfortunately said no. If you are struggling with what you think could be any type of mental disorder, please tell a trusted adult.
Another student at OHS said their grandpa who suffers with PTSD, “My grandpa is a retired fireman, and to this day, he still has flashbacks to the one time he saw a woman jump from a burning building and die. He will just randomly start daydreaming for about two minutes, and then eventually jump or shake once his flashback is over. He has been to heavy amounts of therapy to try and help it, but nothing has fully cured his disorder.” PTSD is very common in the elderly who have once experienced something tragic in their life, with flashbacks being very common.
In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, students at OHS can wear green on Thursday, May 10 to show respect for those who currently suffer or have suffered with any type of mental disorder. Many counseling centers are also offering free screenings for people who suffer from a disorder, in hopes to help before it gets any worse. Just remember, if any of your friends seem to be emotionally unstable, talk to them and see if they are just having a rough day or if they might need help. You could just save someone’s life.
Dylan Jahnke covers entertainment and local stories. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or contact the publication directly at email@example.com