Your mind matters – Law Journal for Social Justice

By Kylie Yanes

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

— Louisa May Alcott

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following blog post discusses suicide and mental illness.

According to the World Health Organization, about one in four people globally will be affected by a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. Each year, an estimated 700,000 people worldwide take their own lives; suicide is the fourth leading cause of death among 15 to 29-year-olds. These statistics are startling because they show that mental health will almost undoubtedly play a role in our own lives, or the lives of those we love.

Mental health is essential to overall well-being, and we must work together to look out for those who need help. (Photo: Alex Green via Pexels.)

Nine in 10 adults say ​they believe there’s a mental health crisis in the United States, per a 2022 CNN poll. Some of the most common mental health struggles include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia and eating disorders. Yet even though there seems to be an understanding that our collective mental health is suffering, two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional.

Stigma surrounding mental illness remains a significant barrier to people’s comfort in receiving support. Many individuals fear being judged or labeled negatively if they admit to having mental health problems. This stigma can come from society, cultural beliefs, or even within one’s own social circles, leading individuals to hide their struggles. Denial or minimization of mental health problems is common, especially when individuals feel ashamed or embarrassed about their symptoms.

People suffering from mental health issues may convince themselves that they can handle the issues on their own, or that reaching out is a sign of weakness. Accessibility issues create another barrier; limited availability of mental health services, long wait times for appointments, financial constraints, and lack of insurance coverage can prevent people from accessing the care they need. This is particularly problematic in underserved communities or rural areas where mental health resources may be scarce.

It is crucial that we begin to change the narrative of talking about our struggles from one about shame to one of bravery. There are resources specifically for whatever situation you might be experiencing, and there are people who want to help you cope and begin to heal. Whether it is through therapy and counseling services, helplines, support groups, or online apps, you are not alone—and there is hope.

It is also critical that we keep our eyes open to those around us and check in on each other. None of us have to fight these battles alone, and we need to normalize an open and honest dialogue about mental health. You are important, and your life is so valuable.

Just as physical health is vital for optimal function, mental health plays a fundamental role in our ability to cope with stress, manage emotions, build healthy relationships, and pursue our goals. By prioritizing mental health care, we can reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness, improve access to treatment, and empower individuals to lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. Ultimately, investment in mental health care not only benefits individuals but strengthens our families, communities, and society as a whole.

Please reach out—help is available.

In an emergency, call 911.

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 988

Substance Abuse Helpline: 1-800-662-4357 (SAMHSA)

AZ Teen Lifeline: 800-248-8336 / 602-248-8336 (Call/Text)

Family Violence Support: Winged Hope

Kylie Yanes is currently a 3L at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. Prior to law school, Kylie graduated from Grand Canyon University with a bachelor’s degree in business management. Outside of school, Kylie enjoys being with family and friends, volunteering, and traveling.

Published by Law Journal for Social Justice at Arizona State University

The Law Journal for Social Justice (“LJSJ”) is the first student-run and student-created online journal at Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law. LJSJ aims to edit, publish, and produce notable works through its online website from legal scholars, practitioners and law students. LJSJ also publishes twice a year, featuring articles that focus on important, novel and controversial areas of law. LJSJ will provide a fresh perspective and propose solutions to cornerstone issues that are often not discussed, which may also have the potential to positively impact local communities.
View all posts by Law Journal for Social Justice at Arizona State University

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