Mental health: An essential topic

With the concern of physical health drastically overwhelming the world for the past eight months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many seem to lack the ability to identify the mental needs of society members during this time. While experts and bystanders could go on about the seriousness of this virus, which they should, I want to focus on the mental strain it has caused many. 

In general, mental health has always been an overlooked issue within the world we reside. Stereotyping and avoidance have played a huge role in the overall perspective of mental health that consumes the minds of thousands each and every day. Mental health, an uncomfortable and controversial topic for some, often isn’t discussed as it should be. Mental health awareness and education must be held to a higher importance if we truly want to see a difference made in the mindset of our society. 

During this uncertain time, the government has ultimately been focused on sorting businesses into categories of essential and nonessential in order to limit the spread of such a deadly virus. Basically, authority figures have prioritized our freedoms based on the possibility of our physical health being negatively affected. 

The new safety guidelines have restricted the entire population to their homes for months beyond controlled work environments and sparse grocery store visits. These new expectations, although ideal for the time being, have taken a larger toll on the mental health of people than many recognize and have largely neglected the role of mental health on the average person.  

Being confined to the household can be far more dangerous for some than ever imagined. Abusive home lives, poor structural conditions and monetary shortage affecting resources amongst many other issues are what so many people have been suffering from non-stop during this pandemic. According to governmental recommendations, this home-bound environment is assumed to be the safest option to avoid illness. 

To put this reality into perspective, the closure of schools has taken away resources such as free counseling, adequate meals and the love and attention that is needed for children to pursue a healthy lifestyle. The lack of technology, an accurate learning environment and support at home will drastically affect the development of many students. For some, this stay at home order is trapping victims in a closed area with their abuser with no way to escape, stunting positive growth. 

This pandemic has ruined far more than the physical health of humankind. It has trapped people within their own minds, which in some cases can be much more dangerous than originally thought. Confining a person to their own thoughts and banning them from their typical outlets can cause them to suffer illness in other forms. This virus is far more harmful than the experts could have predicted, and a change must soon come. 

 If it wasn’t clear enough prior to a global pandemic, now more than ever, mental health awareness must be identified and worked on. 

So, what can you do? End the stigma and educate others. Be willing to embrace those awkward conversations and to access crucial resources, for it may be a life-saving outlet for those in need. More than anything, be aware. This virus can harm your body; Specifically, your brain. Use this as a reminder that both the physical and mental well-being of all people should be prioritized and considered; even more so during this challenging time.