Talking about mental health is not enough

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Talking about mental health is just the first step, not the solution.

Having people like Will Heininger or Anthony Ianni come and speak to students about mental health is only a part of the solution. 

Often, people who speak out about their struggles have little risk in doing so. Celebrities are rich and famous—they won’t lose as much as the average person who is less stable.

High school students are some of the most unstable, with no reputation or money to fall back onto. They are trying to make a life, speaking out could jeopardize that.

Even for those brave students who will reach out, resources to help them are lacking.

Our junior and senior high schools have counselors, yet never advertise them. 

A more proactive response is needed because, “Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.

It ranks higher than homicide according to the CDC

You are more likely to kill yourself than die in a school shooting. Despite this, schools are more prepared for a school shooting. 

Administration could start by being harsher on negativity around mental health. Insults like, “Are you autistic?” should not be tolerated. It is hate speech and should be treated as such.

It’s no joking matter when you consider that “50.6% of U.S. youth aged 6-17 with a mental health disorder received treatment in 2016,” according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.

This silence can not continue. 

An issue of this magnitude requires more than just speakers, it requires resources. 

According to the national alliance on mental health the average delay between onset of mental illness symptoms and treatment is 11 years, the time to stop talking is now. 

Stop talking and start doing.