By Tracey Parker
No one is exempt from mental health, and it can affect anyone at any time. The contributing factors can be from traumatizing experiences such as sexual, emotional, or physical abuse, substance abuse, anxiety, depression, and even genetics can play a role. As time goes on, these emotions gets more intense, happens more frequently, and soon those problems control lives. People think they can do it alone or they will go away, but it does not. Mental illness needs to be addressed, so preventive measures can be taken.
Mental health can affect anyone at any time regardless of his or her status in life. For example, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. These two celebrities appeared to be living the American dream but sadly took their lives in June 2018 by suicide. These tragedies garnered much media attention but also shed light on how mental illness affects victims, loved ones, and friends alike. It also shined a light on how people are suffering with deep embedded issues but are not reaching out for help.
I have heard people say, “Black people do not go through that”. That is not true. In society, it seems as if admitting to this, people has already been prejudged and are viewed as being insane. We all struggle with something in our lives daily, but embarrassment
can prevent people from speaking out. Mental health is just as important as our physical health and should be treated as such. Some symptoms to look for are stress, loss of interest in daily activities, loss of appetite, anxiety, hyperactivity, and thoughts of suicide. If someone is feeling sick, they go to the doctor; why should we not reciprocate and do the same if our mental health is in such a state?
Just from experience, I noticed that there are certain times when I feel like I do not want to get up to do anything or I feel like I am lagging behind in life. I have especially started paying attention to this when I see everyone moving on to other things and I am standing in that same position. These actions and thoughts are linked to symptoms of depression. In these times, I tend to speak to someone about it. They help me to reflect on what is good and positive in my life and how blessed I am. Another thing that helps me to overcome things is my faith. Going in prayer and being open and honest with God helps me so much and lifts me out of that negative mindset.
Mental health is now finally getting the attention it deserves as awareness is now being conveyed through different sources of media. There are counseling centers and hotlines available, and they are confidential. For anyone who is experiencing depression, anxiety, or any other symptoms that indicates severe changes in mood reach out to NYC WELL. They can be reached at 1-888-NYC-WELL or text “WELL” to 65173. All calls are confidential. Not seeking help is detrimental to one’s health and always remember that it always take another hand to lift you up.