By: Amelia Lin

World Mental Health Day is recognized on October 10th and National Depression Screening Day is October 11th, so it only seemed appropriate that we combine these two topics!

In most states, physical health education is taught by law. Children learn that they should brush their teeth to prevent cavities, eat vegetables, and sleep at least eight hours a night. All the while, almost a quarter of these same students are struggling through a mental illness of some kind. Under the pressure of social media, Hollywood, and the education system itself, there has been a spike in the increase in mental illnesses among our youth.

Depression is often called out the most, but rarely is it depicted in the right way. Almost 20% of adolescents have to face depression before they reach adulthood, but many of us are still believe the misconceptions of depression that we see on our TV screen. On Owen’s Counseling blog, we have a great article about the myths and facts of mental illnesses. It’s a great way for us to get to know what they are and maybe make us think differently about the people around us struggling with them.

As a society, our lack of understanding when it comes to depression and mental health overall has quite a number of consequences. Ignorance is the reason why kids are bullied for being “different” and called weak for being sad. There are plenty of things to blame, but that doesn’t help solve the problem.

The solution is spreading awareness. The solution is having an open mind. We don’t make jokes about cancer, heart disease, or something as common as having a cold. Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction deserve that same respect. Mental health education is something that needs to be actively enforced and encouraged so that it can reach the people who need it most.