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Addressing Mental Health Issues in the American Society

Addressing Mental Health Issues in the American Society

Mental health issues are gaining root in the current society. Depression and anxiety have been proven to increase with each passing day and many people are suffering without realizing it; some fail to see the suffering of their loved ones. It is not easy to know who might be experiencing the mental health problems as many prefer not to speak up for fear of being ridiculed or shamed. To address the mental health issues in society, society should find the root cause of the mental health issues among people, train mental health practitioners with skills to identify mental health disorders, help patients to recover, and urge individuals to seek help when they face a mental health disorder. With many people, especially celebrities taking charge in speaking up about mental health issues, especially depression and anxiety, it’s evidence mental health issues is a key concern in the society and there is urgent to determine factors leading to high cases of mental illness and possible solutions to these problems.

Mental health issues vary as there are many examples including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, insomnia, and bipolar disorder. Each of the problems has a different cause or one might lead to another is not treated and they show different but almost similar symptoms. Patients and their families should not make assumptions on what mental issues are affecting them but go for diagnosis from specialized personnel. Understanding the types and what brings them about will help the families understand the patients, which support and care to offer them, what to avoid to stop adverse effects of the disorder to the patient's health, social and personal life as well as the well-being of their loved ones (Fitzgerald et. al, 2006).

Mental health disorders’ causes determination is the first step towards addressing and solving mental health issues affecting society. Over the past year, reports on mental health problems especially depression and anxiety have been reported to be on the rise (Lee, 2019). COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to lose their jobs and the learning process interrupted thus exposing people to mental health problems. There are different causes of mental health issues; environment, genetics, painful and traumatic experiences, unhealthy habits, drugs and alcohol, brain chemistry, and negative thoughts. According to Lowenstein and MacCulloch (2009), the causes of the mental health issues also affect how severely the symptoms of the illness affect a person, when symptoms are experienced and how the stages of the disease progress.

People can be exposed to mental health issues if their environment does not support a healthy mental status of individual. Family, school, and work environment can be the environmental cause of mental health issues. Family environment can cause mental issues if one is experiencing a lot of family responsibilities like a single parent who has to work and care for the family or when they are in a lot of family debts that need to be settled. Also, caring for a sick family member with demanding hospital bills can lead to depression. Child abuse or sexual harassment from the partner is another family environmental cause of mental health disorders like depression (Fitzgerald, Zucker & Freeark, 2006).

Factors promoting mental health issues in the school environment include pressure to perform well, bullying, increased social media use, and poor student-teacher relationships. Bullying has been on the rise in media reports especially from South Korea (Lee, 2019). Many celebrities have been accused of school bullying and many victims surfacing on the internet from all over the world to share their experience with bullies which was a difficult situation. The accused celebrities suffer from backlash, malicious comments on their social media accounts like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook which makes it hard for them to face the accusations. Some quit their career and others keep off social media but start suffering and fall into depression, paranoia, anxiety, and social withdrawal. In the end, some commit suicide as reported by media outlets as cited in Lee (2019). The victims also have a fair share of the experience and some commit suicide to escape the problems but some end up doing the forbidden acts of suicide while others result in non-suicidal self-injury means as a way of escaping their trouble (Schatten, 2013). According to Pappa et. al (2020), mental health issues, depression, anxiety, and insomnia, were on the rise among health workers during the pandemic period. If faced with many expectations at work, people can fall into depression, anxiety, and insomnia while trying to meet work demands. With the technological environment we live in, cyberbullying is also another cause of mental disorders. Malicious comments left on people's posts on social media are a dangerous risk to mental disorders. A 28-year old shared on her YouTube channel her experience with anxiety after her post was made into a meme and circulated the internet (2019). She was forced to quit YouTube and seek treatment for her severe anxiety.

Painful and traumatic experiences can cause mental issues. Painful experiences like losing the loved one, being in accidents, or being terminally ill can trigger the mental disorder. Losing a loved one leaves people lost, and most will feel they have no reason to live hence lockout themselves from the world. Such people may at times attempt suicide, non-suicidal self-injury, or self-isolation. Traumatic experiences affect people a lot and often cause panic disorders which can be fatal if severe. A report on psychological tests of soldiers showed that many suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Soldiers face a lot of death experiences in war and some are too shocking to take in especially when they are fighting in a war that uses explosives and watches innocent lives or their colleagues being lost. Some also end up losing body parts and being forced to live a new life as disabled people which lingers in their minds (Paulson & Krippner, 2007). Child abuse, sexual abuse, and bullying can also cause post-traumatic stress disorder which can lead to panic attacks in the patients. Reliving past experiences can be risky to patients hence they should seek help before it gets adverse.

Genetics and brain chemistry are other causes of mental health issues. A genetic predisposition can cause mental health disorders like bipolar which is a mood disorder where the patient experiences episodes of mania and depression. Also, when there is an imbalance of a natural chemical in the brain or body, a person experiences mood swings that trigger mental disorders like bipolar, paranoia, schizophrenia, and psychosis. The brain chemistry cause can trigger delusions, hallucinations, mood disorders, paranoia, and social withdrawal, and sometimes impaired thinking or memory (Lowenstein, & MacCulloch, 2009).

Negative thoughts and unhealthy habits also cause mental health issues. Unhealthy habits like lack of adequate sleep, poor eating habits can cause mental health issues like insomnia, and eating disorders that also harm the physical health of the patients. Negative thoughts like someone thinking low of themselves, feeling defeated and hopeless, or always expecting the worst to happen can lead a person into depression and anxiety. Negative thoughts may not come because the person wants them to but can be a result of what a person experienced through verbal abuse and physical assault. Drug and alcohol abuse can trigger mental health issues and also make the recovery process difficult. Drugs and alcohol can push someone to make irrational judgment decisions and sometimes hallucinations. It can also push someone into debt that might lead to depression.

Mental health practitioners need the training to develop skills to identify the mental health disorders in their patients and help them recover by administering proper treatment. Mental health practitioners like psychologists, counselors, psychiatrists, nurses, mental health aides, and peer support professionals need to be well trained to handle their patients. A person experiencing mental health disorders is very sensitive and thus needs a lot of patients. Some have socially withdrawn themselves from outside, while others are not willing to open up their wounds and re-live their pain again through the treatment process. This calls for a lot of patient, understanding, and care from the health personnel to gain the trust of the patient. More people should be trained in psychology and psychiatric specialty to help mental health patients. They will also know how to approach the patient when they face different challenges such as when to change medication, introduce new doses, and how to schedule treatment sessions with the patients.

Nurses and mental health aides have to be trained to understand the mood changes of the patients and their sensitive nature to help the patients understand they are not alone in their treatment journey. Peer-support professionals will be very useful especially in dealing with teenagers and youths to get them to open up and seek mental health treatment. Having professionals trained to offer peer support to patients helps them connect with patients and create a comfortable environment for patients to open up. Counselors also need the training to understand how to create a comfortable environment for patients to open up and share their experiences so that they can be offered the best treatment (Bayat, 2019).

The patients need to understand their need to seek treatment and know their role in the treatment process to help them fully recover. Many people suffering from mental health issues are shying away from seeking help as they think it is a shameful act when the people know they suffer from mental health disorders. According to Smith (2019), Moris started by accepting her suffering from anxiety. The first step is accepting the situation one faces and seeking help. Moris in her post on youtube comes open about her suffering, her intention to seek help, and encourages others to seek help. Individuals need to understand that they have a role to play in addressing the mental health issues and helping society find a better solution to improve the mental health status of people. Lee (2019), highlights the media coverage that sowed many celebrities especially in South Korea which has been believed to behave many people suffering from mental health issues especially depression. The reports from the media showed many people are opening up on their suffering and seeking treatment just like they would seek treatment for any other disease.

The patients need to understand that if they seek help, they have a greater part to play. They need to speak up and share the experience, pain and suffering with their doctors or health practitioner to help get a better diagnosis, treatment program, and medication. The patients also need to avoid the causal agents that trigger them to suffer from the diseases or trigger adverse symptoms. The patients also have to learn to trust themselves and their doctors, follow the treatment programs and take medication as well as remain positive throughout. Individuals need to be active in the recovery process by getting engaged in activities recommended by their doctors and follow-up and also mingle with people to keep themselves busy and around people. Patients can also encourage others to come up and seek help by sharing their experience just like Moris and Kristen in Smith (2019) did.

Getting people to open up about their mental health issues without the fear of negative responses from society is the biggest challenge currently. Society should create awareness that mental health issues are a disease that needs treatment and not shaming. After media coverage on celebrities opening up on mental health issues, and showing some data from the number of celebrities who committed suicide from 2010 to 2017, the American society was opened to understand that mental health issues are increasing in society. The media also released an article about mental health issues, what causes them, the examples, and some treatment methods (Lee, 2019). Creating awareness about mental health issues will help change the mentality on mental health issues that exist in society. The current belief is, if someone has a mental health disorder then they are an abomination or they are not normal and termed as crazy. Creating awareness will also help people understand that mental health issues can affect anyone without limit to age, gender, social status, or career but everyone is prone to suffering from this problem if they are exposed to causal agents (Smith, D. 2019).

People should also understand the effects of mental health issues like suicide, social withdrawal and non-suicidal self-injures that patients may face due to the adverse effects of the problems. Non-suicidal mental health issues will be a great advantage to people especially, families with people affected as they can easily identify their loved one is suffering. Examples may be cuts on the wrists or any other pain-inflicting method that leaves marks on their bodies. Some may scratch their skin until it bleeds due to irritation especially when facing a panic attack or lip biting until it bleeds. The family will know where to seek help when any of the members show such symptoms of mental health disorder rather than locking them up in mental health facilities (Schatten et. al, 2013).

In conclusion, mental health disorders may be termed as a "forbidden" disease because most people still have the fear of being wrongly judged by the society. It is one of the most dangerous problems globally that need addressing to create a healthy society. Having the society identifying all the root causes will be a good step to start to helping people overcome mental illness and also to prevent people from being victims. Personnel needs to be trained so that they help their patients by giving them the needed support and treatment for recovery. On the other hand, patients play the larger part in determining whether they get treated, recover, or still make their situations worse. It is right to make them understand their essential role in addressing the problem in society. Creating awareness should indeed be the priority to get all the people still shying away from facing reality and seeking help to come up and get treated and help others. Institutions such as schools, companies, government institutions etc… should also embrace mental health trainings and awareness to people on the important of speaking up their issues and help one another overcome mental health issue


Fitzgerald, H. E., Zucker, R. A., & Freeark, K. (2006). The crisis in youth mental health: Issues for families, schools, and communities. Greenwood Publishers.

Lee, S. Y. (2019). Media coverage of celebrity suicide caused by depression and an increase in the number of people who seek depression treatment. Psychiatry Research, 271, 598–603.

Lowenstein, L. F., & MacCulloch, T. (2009). Do the causes of psychotic symptoms matter? Issues in Mental Health Nursing, 30(11), 723-725. doi:10.1080/01612840903177464

Pappa, S., Ntella, V., Giannakas, T., Giannakoulis, V. G., Papoutsi, E., & Katsaounou, P. (2020). Prevalence of depression, anxiety, and insomnia among healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. 88, 901–907.

Paulson, D. S., & Krippner, S. (2007). Haunted by combat: Understanding PTSD in war veterans including women, reservists, and those coming back from Iraq. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Schatten, H. T., Morris, B. W., Wren, A. L., & Andover, M. S. (2013). Mental Health Issues and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury among Youth: Implications for Mental Health Professionals in the School System. School Psychology Forum. 7(4), 136–147.

Smith, D. (2019, Jul 26). The 28-year-old woman behind the 'overly attached girlfriend' meme announced she's quitting YouTube for good in a teary goodbye video. Business Insider

Bayat, M. (2019). Young children with challenging behaviors and mental health issues. Addressing Challenging Behaviors and Mental Health Issues in Early Childhood, 1-21.

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