Why is it that, as a society, we don't like talking about mental health? An estimated 26.2 percent of adults age 18 and over have some sort of mental health issue. That's more than a quarter of the entire adult population, yet we brush it under the rug as if it's some sort of black sheep.
It's life. People overly worry to the point of panic attacks. People get depressed (for specific reasons or none at all). People have bipolar disorder and schizophrenia and a whole host of other mental health issues. People have irrational (and sometimes rational) fears that can be debilitating. Each and every one of them is highly treatable yet goes untreated far too often.
It's no secret, that for many in our society, mental health issues are a sign of weakness. In reality, one is no more weak for going to a doctor for their anxiety disorder then they are for going to see a doctor about diabetes. Many mental health issues, like physical health issues, come from genetics. Others begin through trauma or stressful events. Just as a baseball to the face could cause temporary trauma, so could a bad breakup or loss of a loved one. Yet we treat these topics completely differently. This needs to end. Mental health issues are just as serious as physical health issues and can be managed or even eliminated with the right treatment.
People won't seek out that treatment until we get rid of the negative association attached to mental health in America. For that to happen we need to be more open about it. I've talked about my anxiety issues to many people and more often than not, people end up telling me about their experiences with theirs. In fact, it's safe to say that more people have told me about their mental health issues than have stared at me like I'm some sort of freak. This is what needs to continue to happen in order to break the stigma currently associated with mental health. We are human -- perfectly imperfect. Until we embrace that and support each other, things will not change. So the next time someone you know may be experiencing issues of their own, do what you would do if they had just broken their arm. Be supportive and urge them to go to the right health care provider to get the treatment they deserve.
Kyle McMahon is a millennial who has recently appeared on a series of Oprah's Lifeclass specials, writes about self improvement for millennials and gives speeches on fatherless sons. Check out the Kyle McMahon website for more information. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook.