*Note: Thoughts and opinions are my own based on experiences, etc.
It bugs me so much how everything hateful done in this world is automatically blamed on the media, the shooter, guns, etc. Gun control is a start, but it’s not the entire answer. When people start threatening shooters and wishing they wouldn’t be dead so they can kill them, that truly breaks my heart. I know in times like this it’s hard to not hate an individual for what they did, but solving violence with violence will not make anything better. I’m not defending the shooters in all massacres, so don’t go off threatening me for giving a tiny bit of sympathy towards others.
Mental health is so important and always looked away from because it’s not a physical disability. It runs in my family, I’ve seen it right before my eyes several times. Trust me when I say, no one can really understand what the mentally ill individual is going through, or their family until you’ve experienced it yourself. It’s so hard to watch someone you once knew and looked up to the most not have any control of their life anymore. To hear hateful words being said at you having to always remind yourself that what they’re saying isn’t true is so hard. Imagine being terrified to go to sleep at night when your loved one is still awake and you’re not sure if they’ll ever sleep and what they’re doing at that time. Imagine being one of the only ones in your family to somewhat understand how to deal with the situation, and having to try to explain it to others who just can’t seem to grasp it. Imagine feeling helpless and always just wanting to give up but you can’t because you believe you’re the only one there to help make progress. I believe that mental health is a big issue in this world. There’s not enough awareness and I wish I could think of some way to build that awareness up instead of sitting here typing this blog saying what should be done. But I also believe that the people who live or have gone through watching another loved one deal with their mental illness needs all the help they can get as well. Everyone has their own thoughts and opinions that may or may not work, but action needs to be done.
As mentioned before, gun control is a start, but it’s not the entire solution. Even if it was harder to get a gun in the world, there are still other ways to access them. Someone can easily grab a gun from a person who has one. The mental-health system should be easier for families and patients to navigate and more supports should be available in each community. Every time some sort of massacre has occurred in the world, a media channel has to name the shooter and make them “famous” for their horrible actions. They bring psychiatrists on to speak about what the shooter may have been going through and they leave it at that. Nothing ever seems to be done or spoken about again until something horrible happens yet another time. I can not stress enough how important everyone in the world needs to be educated in mental health. Many people know what to do when someone is having a stroke. Call 911. Some even are aware of the symptoms and how to detect when it’s about to happen. But do people know what to do when someone is going through a psychosis (no longer in touch with reality for weeks, maybe even months). Do people know how to detect that sort of thing? No. I never did either, until it happened to someone close to me the first time. A few years later, the second time it happened I thought I suspected something a while back, and to this day regret not doing something about it sooner so it may have been prevented.
Mental illnesses can take many forms, just as physical illnesses do. Mental illnesses are still feared and misunderstood by many people, but the fear will disappear as people learn more about them. If you, or someone you know, has a mental illness, there is good news: all mental illnesses can be treated.
Facts about Mental Illness (Courtesy of CMHA)
Who is affected?
- Mental illness indirectly affects all Canadians at some time through a family member, friend or colleague.
- 20% of Canadians will personally experience a mental illness in their lifetime.
- Mental illness affects people of all ages, educational and income levels, and cultures.
- Approximately 8% of adults will experience major depression at some time in their lives.
- About 1% of Canadians will experience bipolar disorder (or “manic depression”).
How common is it?
- Schizophrenia affects 1% of the Canadian population.
- Anxiety disorders affect 5% of the household population, causing mild to severe impairment.
- Suicide accounts for 24% of all deaths among 15-24 year olds and 16% among 25-44 year olds.
- Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in both men and women from adolescence to middle age.
- The mortality rate due to suicide among men is four times the rate among women.
What causes it?
- A complex interplay of genetic, biological, personality and environmental factors causes mental illnesses.
- Almost one half (49%) of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem.
- Stigma or discrimination attached to mental illnesses presents a serious barrier, not only to diagnosis and treatment but also to acceptance in the community.
- Mental illnesses can be treated effectively.
How does it impact youth?
- It is estimated that 10-20% of Canadian youth are affected by a mental illness or disorder – the single most disabling group of disorders worldwide.
- Today, approximately 5% of male youth and 12% of female youth, age 12 to 19, have experienced a major depressive episode.
- The total number of 12-19 year olds in Canada at risk for developing depression is a staggering 3.2 million.
- Once depression is recognized, help can make a difference for 80% of people who are affected, allowing them to get back to their regular activities.
- Mental illness is increasingly threatening the lives of our children; with Canada’s youth suicide rate the third highest in the industrialized world.
- Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15-24 year old Canadians, second only to accidents; 4,000 people die prematurely each year by suicide.
- Schizophrenia is youth’s greatest disabler as it strikes most often in the 16 to 30 year age group, affecting an estimated one person in 100.
- Surpassed only by injuries, mental disorders in youth are ranked as the second highest hospital care expenditure in Canada.
- In Canada, only 1 out of 5 children who need mental health services receives them.
I sincerely hope that one day the we can change the facts that are in bold to 5 out of 5 and 100%….