May- Mental Health Awareness Month!


Jazlyn Valentin

So you want to talk about mental health. Though it is something that is frowned up, you must take care of it as you do your physical health. Whether you are aware of it or not, your mental health is continuously being affected everyday; it involves your emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It influences how we think, feel, and act. The feeling of failure one may get if they do badly on a test, relationships, friendships, and feeling stressed and overwhelmed with pounds of homework, are all things that may seem small but take a toll on your mental health; even if you might not take note of it—which is exactly the problem. Failing to pay attention to your mental health can cause one to develop bad habits, and worsen those that you may already have. 

Although we briefly discuss it in health class, I think it should be something we talk about more in school—especially for boys. Over six million men are affected by depression per year, and most male depression goes undiagnosed. Essentially, this is because men are less likely than women to seek help when it comes to their mental health. As a result of society, they become reluctant to talk about their emotions and often downplay symptoms; after all, men are more likely to die by suicide than women. I believe this is the root of the majority of toxic masculinity. From a young age, boys are taught that they should be “tough” and “strong,” causing men to suppress their emotions as being emotional is viewed as a “femenine trait.” If boys do allow themselves to be emotional and open, they are viewed as “weak.” Having said that, it is important that in school, we teach men that it is okay to be emotional and acknowledge what they are feeling. It does not make them any less of a man, and if anything it makes them stronger because being aware of your emotions and mental health is much easier said than done. 

Reluctance to get help when you need it may be more prominent in men but it is something that we all suffer with. Even now, mental health still tends to be frowned upon in society, making people shy away from getting any assistance they may need out of embarrassment or shame. What we all must remember is that it is okay not to be okay. Without bad days there would be no good days. Without falling, we would never learn how to get back up. You are worth so much more than letting yourself suffer alone. Whether it be talking to a friend, parent, adult, teacher, or even writing your thoughts down in a journal, you should let all your feelings out because bottling them up inside will only make things worse. Getting help doesn’t make you weak, it makes you STRONGER because you took matters into your own hands and decided to better yourself, and realized that you deserve all the happiness in the world. Always remember that you are NOT a burden to anyone, and your feelings are always valid. YOU MATTER AND YOU ARE IMPORTANT!