Everyone Needs To Take Care of Their Mental Health

Ashley Schmidt, Staff Reporter

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Everyone has to take care of their mental health, just like physical health. However, in society, going to a therapist is seen as a last resort, a place one goes when his or her mental health is at such a terrible point that you cannot function. Instead of being proactive and taking care of our mental health to prevent illness, we ignore it and leave our mind susceptible. With increasing rates of mental illness, society needs to start prioritizing our mental health.

Imagine mental health as physical health. With our physical health we go to the doctor for a yearly checkup, just to make sure everything is okay. We get a whole bunch of tests to make sure nothing is malfunctioning or abnormal. There are plenty of different shots to protect us from illnesses. Many of us eat nourishing food and exercise to keep our body as healthy as possible.

Think about how the majority of the population takes care of their mental health. Most people avoid therapists at all costs, and rarely take the time to take care of their mental health. We have no protection from mental illness. In addition, we aren’t aware of the signs of a mental illness until it interferes with life to the point of not being able to function.

Every day, we are bombarded by ads about healthy eating and fitness and beauty standards that are pushing more and more people to eating disorders. As our lives get faster, our anxiety levels rise. The rise of social media shows us everything we are missing, lowering our self- esteem and even causing depression. Suicide levels are on the rise as everything becomes too much.

With life as overwhelming as it is, we need to take care of our mental health in the same way we take care of our physical health. Avoiding a doctor would be a horrible idea. You could get some sort of illness that could’ve been easily treated if caught early. Early prevention saves lives.

Going to a therapist regularly from a young age to check in on your mental health would catch a lot of mental illnesses early. In addition, learning the proper way to take care of your mental health could decrease the development of mental illness and improve the mental health of everyone, even those without mental illness.

I started seeing a therapist in 8th grade, when my social anxiety got to the point where it was significantly interfering with my life. Up until that point I had no idea that I was struggling with social anxiety, let alone generalized anxiety and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Looking back there were clear signs as early as first grade of my poor mental health (especially the OCD). However, because of the lack of education about mental illnesses, I didn’t receive treatment until my life was significantly impaired.

In an ideal world, people would see a therapist at least on a yearly basis to check in and monitor mental health. People would go more as a child and then less often once they get past the years of rapid development). Doing so would also decrease the stigma of going to a therapist. Everyone can benefit from seeing a therapist. Therapists are specially trained to help other people going through difficult situations.

Even if life is going well, you still see a doctor, so you should also see a therapist. After about half a year or so of seeing a therapist, I was in a good enough place where my therapist brought up no longer needing to see her. In my mind, I decided that my mental health was once again fine so I went back to the usual not paying much attention to it. That was a very bad idea and soon things went downhill from my lack of attention and time spent taking care of my mental health. Lesson learned: don’t wait until your mental health fails to take care of it.