Like with most things in life, there are three steps to solving this problem.
First, let’s tackle the SCIENCE of mental illness. We need better education about the topic and much better mental health literacy. This starts in the school system, and continues in the media that young people are immersed in more and more each day.
Second, we need to end the STIGMA associated with having a mental illness. It needs to be understood that it is biochemistry, not weakness, that leads to these illnesses. We need to talk about it more and feel comfortable doing so. Reaching out for help should be the norm, just like going to the doctor or dentist when we have a physical illness.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, we need to provide young people with the SUPPORT they need, whether or not they have a mental illness. We all have mental health and should all have equal and fair access to the resources and tools needed to cope with the everyday stresses of life and the unfortunate realities of mental illness. We’re talking about affordable (or free) mental health care without the wait times and BS (bad stuff).
Science. Stigma. Support.