Helping the mentally ill

Here is an issue that frustrates the you-know-what out of me. On this campus, I guarantee that there are students suffering from a mental illness.

Whether it’s bipolar disorder or depression, they shouldn’t have to suffer. When many of these students cry out for help, their friends and family members assume the worst and stop interacting with them. But this loss of companionship can be devastating to someone with a mental health issue.

Many people are simply afraid to be around someone with a mental illness. They believe the lies that all people who have a mental illness are weak or will become violent. Although there are documented cases of the connection between violence and mental illness, the vast majority of people who are mentally ill are actually more likely to become victims of violence and bullying. When they reach out for help, they are pushed down by a society that says “suck it up!”

Let me tell you something: Mental illness is as serious a problem as cancer. It can kill someone just like a tumor, and it requires treatment as well as the support of family and friends. We wouldn’t tell a cancer patient to solve the issue on his own, would we? Then why do we tell people with a disorder that they aren’t worth saving? In case you didn’t know, mental illness is a real biological condition that affects about 78 million Americans.

With support structures and treatment, people with a mental illness can become functioning members of society. And you can do something to help impact the lives of these people. Volunteer at a hospital or a mental health clinic; be an advocate for treatment of mental illness; campaign for compassionate treatment of the mentally ill.

We at Mercyhurst are a kindhearted group of people. We are socially merciful. I am certain that someone who is mentally ill just wants a friend. They want to get better, but they are afraid to seek treatment for fear of being judged and ostracized from society.

We can help build a better world for them. It starts with you.