The Importance of Mental Health


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Vanesa Garcia Vasquez

Lots of people struggle with mental health: toddlers, teens, and even grown seniors. Mental health is a huge topic now, in the social media world and in general. Many schools arrange assemblies and even counselors visit classrooms to give lessons about mental health and how it is so important. Although some people think it is just another “excuse,” many people struggle with mental health daily. It can affect their work or school status, social life, and physical health, along with mental issues. Many people may find mental health isn’t that big of a deal, but in an article that Mental Health America wrote, they said in 2020, 46,000 Americans died from suicide, and up to 3.2 million made a suicide plan. Not only that, but 1.2 million people attempted suicide.


Not only is your mental health at risk, but so is your social life. In a PublicHealth article, they stated how many people who struggle with health issues tend to lose friends due to self-isolation, which interrupts a person’s interaction with others, especially with their loved ones. Also, in adulthood, self-isolation can result in divorce, family breakdown, or child neglect. They also said how children who have family members who struggle with mental problems may blame themselves, thinking they’re the problem. This can later make them feel lonely and different. These same children can develop problems in the future with behavior and socializing. In another PublicHealth article, they wrote about how mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem may often result in social isolation, but can also cause it. They shared how not only in real life this can affect you but also over social media where people can be rude, and even bully you, bringing your self-esteem down, and leading you to not wanting to socialize. 


Work and school status can also be impacted by mental health. Starting with school, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center said how mental health can affect a student’s energy level, concentration, dependability, mental ability, optimism, and performance. They also said that research shows depression is linked to lower grades and can lead to dropping out of school. In this same article, they showed a survey asking what the most likely mental difficulty the students struggle with is, and which one affected their academic performance the most. The survey stated that 30% of students struggle with stress, 22% with anxiety, 20% with sleep difficulty, and 14% with depression. These same students may start to use drugs or alcohol which can later affect their academic performance even further, leading to disorders and greater mental health issues. This can affect your work life in the same way, but with a few differences. The CDC wrote about how poor mental health can affect job performance and productivity, such as struggling with a regular schedule and how active you are at work, and how engaged you are in your job. It can also affect your communication with your coworkers, such as being aggressive or not communicating at all. Physical capability and daily functioning can also have effects leading to a poor sleep schedule. Mental health is also associated with higher rates of disability and unemployment, both connecting to what was just discussed about poor work performance and communication.


Although mental health and physical health can seem like two separate things, they are both linked together. WebMD gave some examples of how mental health greatly affects physical health, leading to problems such as chronic diseases, sleeping problems, smoking, access to healthcare, and Psoriasis. Chronic diseases are linked with depression and other problems; These diseases are diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis. Sleeping is also a huge problem that links to mental health. In this same article, they said people who struggle with mental health are more likely to have sleeping problems, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. Sleep problems can make mental health issues much worse. Psoriasis is a condition that comes from acute stress and depression, and it is painful red sores of the skin. They stated how people with mental health issues are more likely to pick up smoking and are more likely to smoke a greater number of cigarettes than people who don’t deal with mental health issues. 

Mental health should always be something taken seriously, not only when we are affected by it. People should always take mental health seriously and take matters into their own hands if needed. Not only are there hundreds and thousands of people struggling with mental health each day, but there are also people out there losing their jobs, family, friends, and even their own life due to mental health. Check in on your loved ones and make sure they are okay, and let them know you are here to help! Give them resources they may need, and give them tips on how to improve their lifestyle. Contact a local suicide hotline if you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or having suicidal thoughts. You are not alone! It gets better, and there’s help and support out there for you.