By PEARL HENDERSON
High school student Sheridan
Editor’s Note: The Sheridan Student Column is brought to readers by the Grade 10 English class at Sheridan High School, taught by Abby Williams.
On TV, in books, in movies, and even on social media, we see mental illness everywhere. While it is good to have open discussions about how to avoid developing a mental illness and the reality of living with a mental illness, the speech has become almost jovial. When people with mental illness talk about their real difficulties so that they get the impression that someone understands them, those who don’t understand feel left out and sometimes cause people to fake a disorder in order to feel “special”.
Despite what a lot of people think, living with mental illness sucks, it’s nothing special; it’s a battle in your mind that doesn’t need to be glamorized.
Take, for example, the book turned to show Thirteen Reasons Why. For those unfamiliar with the Netflix show, she details the life of a girl named Hannah who committed suicide, then sent everyone a tape detailing 13 reasons why she did. Not only Thirteen Reasons Why actually show Hannah’s actions choosing suicide, but it also takes all the reasons and displays them as a beautiful crown of burden resting on the delicate mind of a fragile and justified teenager.
Reports say teen suicide rates rose 28.9 percent in the month after the release of Thirteen Reasons Why, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Hannah’s fictional story has affected real lives due to its romanticized and glamorous nature. Some adolescents, while unstable, are easily swayed by the media around them, as this case shows.
There are other examples of this phenomenon in the media, some of which are even worse.
Dear Evan Hansen ‘Its effect on the musical world was tremendous and magnificent, but what about its effect on mental health? Dear Evan Hansen deals with many dark and sad topics, including anxiety and suicide.
In Evan hansen, social anxiety is used as an excuse to allow Evan Hansen to get away with unacceptable behavior. Not only is it used as an excuse, but also as a kind of oddity. Evan Hansen’s anxiety is like a microwave-baked potato, half-baked and used to pretend that something, or someone, is interesting when in reality it is just a potato. Having anxiety is a war in your brain that doesn’t stop, not a quirk to make you interesting. Dear Evan Hansen has had many positive effects, but his treatment of mental disorders is not one of them.
To conclude, mental health is a serious subject. Yes, we as a society need to recognize and have open discussions about mental health, but blatant displays of mental health as a quirk are not the way to go. Using mental illness as a way to get attention and an interesting topic is not the way to go.
It must stop before more real people are affected.