It’s OK to not be OK

Photo+by%3A+Emmalene+Oysti

Photo by: Emmalene Oysti

North Wind Staff

In just the initial months of 2018, Northern has experienced the death of numerous students. Our condolences go out to every family member, staff member, student and friend affected by the loss of one of these young lives.

To students affected by loss, along with anyone on campus coping with mental health issues, remember that it’s completely OK to not be OK.

Presently, a feeling of dismay surrounds conversation about mental health. The language is often negative and those suffering fear face shame for opening up to others about their thoughts. More often than not, people are approached by others with issues of mental health and are unaware of how to react due to lack of empathy or lack of knowledge on what resources are available.

To be able to help others we need to change the attitude surrounding mental health. Mental health does not only include depression, but also encompasses bipolar disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, addiction and more.

We have to attempt to understand those who are affected by mental health issues and, at the very least, be open to listening to others.

By conversing about mental health in a different way, we can prevent people from keeping their mental health issues to themselves. Stop the stigma and start spreading support, because at some point we will all face our most trying times.

Though our university once faced scrutiny for its previous mental health practices, students can no longer be reprimanded for discussing self harm with other students. The services offered by NMU should not be discounted.

Consultation and Counseling Services (CCS) maintains various resources to help students, staff and faculty with any degree of mental health. CCS provides free and completely confidential group and general counseling sessions. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) therapy lights can be found at the center and also in the top floor of the LRC to help those who may experience SAD and a lending library to provide students with a variety of resources on self-help.

The Dial Help Community Support and Outreach Center based in Houghton can also be contacted 24/7 for any mental health issue.

By ending the stigma surrounding mental illnesses we can begin helping those in need and reduce the overall number of individuals affected. No one should be ashamed to discuss their mental health and no one should have to face it alone.