Removing the Stigma Around Anxiety and Depression

Olivia Mariotti

As somebody who struggles with depression and anxiety myself, I know firsthand that it is, well, depressing. I get paranoid of what people think of me, if I am “good enough.” This escalated, and with different issues going on in my life, I lost motivation, and day by day I felt misery. I became suicidal and very angry with everything, but bottled everything up.

It was a difficult process to get the help I needed. It needs to be made easier for others to get the right help for all of us to feel comfortable. In here is a little information on the subject, signs, and what you could do to help.

A mental disorder is “a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking, and behavior”. Someone with a mental disorder shouldn’t be looked down upon, you should be supportive and respectful, and treat them like people. Examples of mental disorders are bipolar disorder, OCD, ADHD, autism, schizophrenia, anxiety and depression. I am focusing mostly towards depression, as more high school students suffer from it. Studies show that before reaching adulthood, 20% of teens go through depression. The following ways to help can apply to any mental illness.

Anxiety, extreme worry, can commonly lead into depression, being extremely sad for a long period of time. Stress, family issues, loss, and genetics can be the cause, or it can occur out of nowhere. Never say to somebody that it could be worse, to get over it, or their problems aren’t that big of a deal; as your emotions cannot always be controlled. It’s like telling somebody with a broken leg to just walk it off.

Going off that analogy, if somebody has a broken bone, people can be all over that person, wondering what’s wrong and showing concern. But when somebody has a mental disorder, people tend to be afraid of the person, or bully them for being “different”. We are not crazy, we are all people with our own unique differences. You should try to express your concern for somebody whenever possible; people in this world as a whole should all be there for eachother more.

Where to go and what to do:

In this school, everybody has the ability to talk to counselors at basically any time. At every office, there is an adjustment counselor that can help you with anything. There are also other teachers you can talk to.

If you hear or see someone who could be self harming or suicidal, PLEASE talk to an adult. If you hear someone making threats, saying they wish they were dead, etc. please take them seriously. If you are worried that they will be mad at you for telling somebody, most likely, in the end, they will be glad that you had spoken up.   

Seeing a therapist, taking prescribed medications, or being hospitalized can all be very helpful, and one should not be judged for doing any of those. One thing about medications however is that although they can help, you shouldn’t rely on them to solve all your problems.

Everybody has their own coping mechanisms, so I recommend dabbling around to see what is helpful to you. Journaling and different forms of music is personally extremely helpful, and things like sports, deep breathing, squeezing ice, stress balls, etc. could be very beneficial to you. Here is a link to some of these methods;

Here is a very useful site that provides different forms of help. You can learn about issues,talk with others struggling, contact hotlines and visit websites:

Here is a video I hold near and dear to my heart about issues with depression and bullying.

Although it is very important for everybody here to get a good education, it is also important for everybody to be happy and healthy, psychically and mentally. Please make sure to take action whenever you come in contact with mental illness, in order to create a safer world that we live in.