By: Saaniah Hardy
I have the freedom to write this, this is my protest against the shadowing of mental health. It should be socially acceptable to speak one’s mind about mental health; however, this topic is unfortunately still taboo in the United States. As humans, we don’t always acknowledge that each others’ emotions are valid. While the First Amendment law doesn’t prohibit us from speaking our minds, I believe there is still a social roadblock to free speech. I, Saaniah Hardy, stand up for those suffering from poor mental health and encourage more conversations surrounding the topic.
The United States has 27 Constitutional Amendments, the first of which protects the citizens’ right to free speech in a legal sense. Nonetheless, free speech in the United States isn’t always protected. Discussions about mental health are often hidden because many feel it is inappropriate to discuss their own mental health. For centuries, citizens of the United States have been trained to keep quiet about their emotions, but why? Mental health shouldn’t be treated any differently from physical health. Discussions about mental health help people understand that they aren’t alone in their troubles and it is normal to not always feel “ok”.
Citizens should not feel as if their right to free speech is infringed upon when they want to discuss their mental state. “The Invisible Epidemic”, a column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is dedicated to discussing mental health topics. In their article “Poor and Mentally Ill in Georgia”, author Misty Williams tells of a 21-year old who killed himself because he couldn’t pay for health care when he was depressed. If he was able to pay for his health care, then he would have therapeutic support which would have likely allowed him to work through his rough mental health patch. Because the correlation between mental health and finance is often overlooked and people are scared to talk about topics such as these, these mental health problems are rarely properly addressed.
For all these reasons, I strive to make my Oracle mental health column “It’s Okay To Not Be Okay” the best that it can be to bring attention to these issues. Mental health transcends generation, culture, and gender and I find it unfortunate that mental health isn’t receiving the media attention I deserve. People should not be afraid of their own minds and speaking up for the support they need.