Introducing early and legitimate education on mental health to young Canadians is vital. Not only would putting resources into education on mental health help to de-stigmatize it, but this shift could also prepare students who may end up dealing with it themselves.
I wasn’t exposed to topics on mental health when I was in elementary and high school. It was only after suffering through two years of depression that I worked up the courage to seek help from a medical professional.
Before I began to see a therapist, I thought I was weak for feeling so down and confused all of the time. As a result, I exhausted myself trying to beat it on my own. Learning about my mental illness through therapy helped me to understand what was really going on inside of my head.
One of the most common misconceptions about mental illness is that you can just ‘snap out of it’ if you really want to. Another is that those suffering from mental illness are weak because they can’t overcome it. Unless they’re properly educated, many will continue to believe these misconceptions to be true.
In order to combat the negative stigma, education on mental health needs to become more of a priority in our school curriculums. Right now, grade seven students in Ontario have health classes that allow them to learn about sexually transmitted diseases and sexuality. While these classes are important, students also need to learn about what mental illness is and how to properly help those suffering from it during this crucial time.
Mental illness needs to be treated as any other illness or injury; it needs to be recognized and addressed. For those suffering in silence, I encourage you to reach out to your family and friends as well as seek help from a medical professional. You aren’t defined by your illness, you aren’t weak and you don’t have to try to beat it by yourself.
The stigma attached to mental illness is one of the biggest barriers people face in seeking help. Promoting mental health education for young people will help de-stigmatize mental illness and make it easier for people suffering to seek and receive proper help from those around them.
Max is The Journal’s Video Editor. He’s a fourth-year Film major.
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