The Stigma Around Mental Health

Sakhi Solanki

Sakhi Solanki

Staff Writer

World Mental Health Day is celebrated on October 10th to raise awareness of mental health issues worldwide. It aims to spread awareness regarding mental health issues and educate people about their effects on physical health, relationships, and careers. And being graduate students, it’s no surprise the mental toll and exhaustion we succumb to every day. 

The rise and fall of energy levels are pretty apparent and regular in graduate student life. The early morning hours, late-night sleep, and caffeine in an IV – that’s the usual drill. Soon, it starts to take a toll, and when the finals or those deadlines are around the corner, there’s just exhaustion, tiredness, and worried expressions all around. Many of us brush it under the rug because who has the time to worry about these things? And that is when the trouble ensues. 

Individuals from across the globe are in the Thunderbird MGM program, which means that the topic of “Mental Health,” although very important, is sometimes considered a stigma in their culture. Given that, there needs to be an open conversation – maybe a coffee or a drink break – just to let those feelings not simmer away and burn you down on the inside. 

Furthermore, it’s hard to acknowledge the struggle that ensues when you don’t know if it’s your studies or personal life or just the pandemic that’s impacting you severely. Everyone is so close with technology (social media, texts, or calls) but very distant socially and physically. So, when someone asks you how you are doing or if you are okay, how are you supposed to explain the chaos within when you have a smile on your face? Or, when you don’t even know that you’re struggling, finding the right words to explain becomes even more difficult.

All these factors combined create a domino effect. One slight change in our lives, and we are disturbed for hours or even days. Given that we are such fickle beings, acknowledging that we might be anxious, sad, stressed, or depressed is more challenging than writing papers or doing group projects. So, when you’re struggling too much, and you can’t seem to get out of your head – what is stopping everyone from admitting that? The most common reason everyone is afraid of admitting that they are struggling is that they view it as a sign of “weakness.” 

Admittance of struggle is a decisive move. It means that you are aware that you’re struggling, but more importantly, that you are willing to work through the wretched thorns created. And maybe that’s all everyone needs to do:  acknowledge and realise that it’s okay not to be okay and to struggle – because happiness is not a destination point in life but a state of mind that is transient in our journey of life. 

But on a less philosophical note, admitting that one is struggling gives people around you the courage to open up and discuss their own battles and struggles. You don’t have to open up about the fight you have going on, but acknowledging the battle with your close friends and loved ones might ease the pain. There might be something that they can do to help, as everyone has weathered a struggle – be it in hiding or plain sight. 

The sadness, anxiety, and exhaustion can cripple you; it can wrap you up and twist you so quickly, and the more you struggle, wiggle, and tug, the more desperately you are caught up in it. And maybe all you need during that time is someone to acknowledge your pain and be there, even if just for a simple embrace. 

So, the next time you see someone struggling to catch up or feeling even slightly battered down – maybe all they are asking for is a conversation to realise that they’re not all alone. And maybe, all they are asking for is a break and company (along with some coffee and food). The spark of conversation that might ensue about an individual’s struggle might help derail the blocks of the stigma that have been built quite wilfully by society over the years. 



follow:

Related Posts

My Life as a T-baby

Learn how Sonia Elizondo’s family history made her destined to be a T-bird

Pepsi

Learning the PepsiCo Way

Learn how Casey Mendoza landed a supply chain internship at PepsiCo this summer

My Life as a T-baby

Learn how Sonia Elizondo’s family history made her destined to be a T-bird

Pepsi

Learning the PepsiCo Way

Learn how Casey Mendoza landed a supply chain internship at PepsiCo this summer