Mental Health in a Perfect World…
In a perfect world, everyone would understand mental health issues, everyone would have empathy, everyone would be educated, no one would think twice about terms like depression, anxiety, coping, stress, and therapy. But (news flash!) we do not live in a perfect world.
I often think about what life would be like if this ideal world was actually reality and it is a little overwhelming how far we are from that world. But although it is overwhelming, I do believe that every day changes in attitude, education, and conversation can make a huge difference when it comes to the environment around mental health in the future.
Something that I think should be implemented (ASAP!) is education in schools and at home. Considering that I had no clue what mental illness really was until I was diagnosed myself, is problematic, in my opinion. If I had learned about mental and emotional health at school and at home, I think that my transition and coping with my newfound diagnosis would have been much smoother.
I believed the stigma that mental illness made you weak, but what if I had heard from a young age that it is simply just a part of some people’s lives and that it is totally normal? Maybe it wouldn’t have been so shameful for me? Having education in schools and at home is an easy step in the right direction.
Another thing that I would like to see is for there to be adequate mental health professionals in schools. Although many schools have guidance counselors or something along those lines, I have rarely heard about there being mental health professionals on staff to be available for students.
There are times that a student may be going through something and not want to talk to their parents about it. What if they had an educated, trusted professional to talk to at school? Just like there are nurses that you go see if you feel physically sick. What if mental illnesses were treated with the same resources in schools as physical illnesses?
Lastly, I would like to simply see mental and emotional health talked about. This change comes down to you and me. Vulnerability breeds strength and connection - two things that humans need. This is one of the reasons that I was drawn to U!Shine Vienna, because it is so human. People here were not afraid to say, “Hey I am not okay!” or even just a simple, “I am having a rough day and that sucks”. I think being able to admit that we are all works in progress and being open with each other will lead to big changes in the future.
So, here’s to hoping for change in the future and action in the present!
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Now it’s your turn! Comment below and tell us what you think a perfect world would be for mental health!
About the Author: Riley Gekiere
While here in Vienna, you can find Riley at some of her favorite coffee shops or cafes reading a book or hanging out with friends. Being in Vienna for only 8 weeks has taught her a lot about adjustment and the physical, mental and emotional toll that can take. The lessons that she learns and the ways she grows here in Vienna are something that she will be able to apply back in the United States (her home!) while she finishes her degree in Social Work. Riley uses her past experiences with mental and emotional health to relate, encourage and grow with other people.