Reach out and care for pals, even strangers, dealing with mental illness


Here’s a fun fact you’re surely aware of: there’s a lot of terribleness out there. So often, it doesn’t come from any external forces, but from within ourselves or those closest to us. The common instinct is to run from that negativity, but guess what? That doesn’t make it go away.
The chance that you have or know someone who has mental illness is close to 100 percent. Twenty-five percent of college students have been diagnosed, and another 80 percent say their past year has been overwhelming, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness.
With all the upheavals and changes to act as triggers, any university sees an upswing in psychological problems. But then, a lot of us don’t really want anything to do with it. Either it makes us uncomfortable or we chalk it up to a weakness or being overdramatic. It kills our buzz, right? Cheer up! Too bad that doesn’t help anything and can even make it worse. It’s an attitude of ignorance and “don’t make this my problem.”
I think Columbine and UC-Santa Barbara proved how quickly mental illness can become everyone’s problem.
One argument could be that everyday people don’t know much about mental health, and that those afflicted should be seeing professionals. This is very true. However (and I can only speak for myself here), seeing a therapist can be great help. For that time. But out of the office, bets are off. What’s the day going to bring? What kind of triggers are going to be encountered? Therapists are not available 24/7. Are those in distress suppose to suffer in silence?
Friends are supposed to be there in times such as those.
You’re afraid they’re going to bring you down, bro? Friendship, simply put, is a give and take, just like any relationship. With good friendships, you reap what you sow. When you’re there, they are there for you later on down the line, and even if they aren’t, the worst outcome is that you were a good and altruistic person.
My fellow afflictees, I urge you to share your pain with another. It’s scary to do and makes you vulnerable, and you don’t even have to share everything, but everybody starts somewhere. If you’re asked, don’t lie — you don’t have to bend the truth.
For you others, find someone and ask them about their problems. See how they’re doing. It can be someone who you know sees a counselor or has a history with issues, or it can be someone who has lust been through a lot lately. Hell, strike up a potential new friendship: it can even be a complete stranger who looks distressed. Don’t be the coward who turns your back to your neighbor and says, “Not my problem.”
Conquer your fear, reach out and everyone benefits.