UNITED STATES—There are always these conversations nowadays about mental health and how important it is to our overall wellbeing, but let’s be honest for a second. Are we actually practicing what we preach? We talk about mental health, but are we making movements to address mental health issues when they actually pop up or do we do our best to sweep it under the rug.

Mental health is stigmatized in our society. When people hear that someone is struggling mentally we assume something is wrong with them to the point that they are crazy or dangerous and that is not the case. There is a negative connotation that comes with mental health that we have to change like immediately; not tomorrow, not next week, not next month, not in a year, not in a decade. There are still cultures where the chatter about mental health is not acceptable. You’re expected to zip it, process it internally, and as some people say, just man up or woman up.

That is dangerous America. You cannot bottle up your emotions, you cannot sit around and let those emotions build to a point that they explode. Why? When you emotions explode it is not good for the psyche. All that negative energy that you have been trying to manage can just erupt and you find yourself lashing out at people who you don’t want to lash out, but they’re the only people in your orbit. At the same time that can be a trigger for your family, as they begin to realize that you’re struggling with something and that you’ve been keeping it from them.

This could be a good thing because that help or lending ear you need to just have someone hear you out is a plus. We sometimes just need a talking ear, someone to just listen to what is going on in our world. Not someone giving you a critique or attempting to give you advice. You sometimes just want a person to LISTEN to what you’re saying and not doing anything. The talking cure I think is so vital to our mental health. It does not mean you have to seek out a therapist always. I don’t think therapists are always the key. Sometimes they get you to think more than you prefer to think about specific situations with the questions that are addressed after you have a conversation.

That simply gets the brain working in overtime more than you care to have the brain actually function people. I think it is imperative that we implement more social sciences in the curriculum for students and not solely at the collegiate level where you have an opportunity to talk about things involving, psychology and sociology. Let’s start to talk about these things in middle school and high school, because with the invention of social media that is an added stressor many kids who grew up in the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and even the early 90s didn’t have to deal with.

You didn’t have to worry about people posting nasty or mean comments on social media as a kid, middle schooler or high schooler. Nowadays, kids have to battle that and it is so frustrating. Kids shouldn’t have to deal with the negative aspect of social media. Rather we want to admit it or not, social media has plenty of positives, but it also has plenty of negatives as well and those negatives can put so many of us in a bad mental state, and I’m referring to adults also. Our mental health needs to be a focal point of our overall health, we cannot ignore it.