By Sandra Charite | Afro | Word In Black
(WIB) – Within the past couple of years, this country has been facing a crisis that can no longer be ignored. While advertising campaigns have been created and celebrities have front lined endorsements to discuss this issue, the number of people dealing with mental health continues to grow.
Depression, self-harm and suicide are rising among young people. The 2020 pandemic highlighted the significance of prioritizing mental health yet the number of those walking around untreated continues to grow. At some point, we will have to realize that mental health is a serious crisis in our country.
This month is Mental Health Awareness Month, which is a time to bring awareness to this issue affecting millions worldwide.
According to Mental Health America, suicidal ideation continues to increase among adults in the U.S. The number of youth struggling with depression has increased. Sadly, the majority of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment, totaling over 20 million adults in the United States who are being untreated. White youth with depression were more likely to receive mental health treatment while Asian-Americans youth were least likely to receive mental health care.
So many people are still recovering from Covid-19 and the challenges of 2020. Personally, the pandemic took a toll on my mental health. I found myself going to work and coming home to my empty apartment.
Although creative ways to virtually stay socially connected were implemented, it still wasn’t enough like having people physically present. There were times when anxiety and depression visited my doorstep, but I was able to overcome them with an awesome support team. I had people speaking life into places where I felt dead- many people don’t.
It’s important for us to be honest about the mental health crisis. It’s easy to have these slogans like “Take care of your mental health” but what does that mean to a mother who just had a baby and is dealing with postpartum depression? What does that mean to someone who is battling bipolar depression, on a fixed income, and can’t afford the $40 copayments for the therapy session every two weeks? What does that mean to the person who has trust issues and is fearful of confronting past traumatic events they’ve encountered in their lives?
In the past month, headline news articles have showcased a series of deaths. Whether they were famous celebrities or the neighbor next door, these deaths were a result of suicide.
Unfortunately, these suicide cases are getting younger and many attribute that to the rise of social media. Sadly, some these individuals have been dealing with their mental health issues for a quite some time then finally succumbed to those suicidal thoughts leaving loved ones with unanswered questions.
Witnessing a mental health crisis can be unsettling, yet the number of cases continues to rise in our families, among our co-workers and church members, and loved ones.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a study released in August 2020 that showed that over 40 percent of adults in the United States reported dealing with mental health challenges or substance use. What’s alarming is more than 50 percent of adults with mental health concerns are not receiving treatment.
The percentage of people experiencing severe mental illness has jumped but many Americans with a mental illness are uninsured. In order to fully treat the mental health crisis, we must address all issues that prevent full, holistic treatment. We must ensure that resources are accessible to all the individuals who need it the most.
Sandra Charite is a Haitian-American author and poet. Her first published book, “Broken Crayons Still Color,” was released in 2016. She is also the author of “The Lies I Told Myself: Only Truth Can Set You Free,” a non-fictional memoir written to inspire and refresh the spirit.