In the last month, I’ve heard of at least three young people in Cork alone having died by suicide. I have no doubt there’s more. That’s at least three more people that the world will never get to fully appreciate. The world will never fully grasp the unique quality of each of those three young people, will never understand the subtle things that make those people so special.
Suicide is the final and fatal symptom of a disease that is infecting more and more minds daily. This is not a metaphor. Depression is a fucking disease and should be treated as one. I don’t think anybody would ignore the symptoms of cancer in a friend or family member. If a friend had signs of a disease such as cancer, yet refused to go to a doctor, would we all not force that person to go. We’d lock them in the car and drive them to get treatment so that they wouldn’t die. We have to treat mental illness the exact same way. We have to force our close ones to face their mental illness, to get help and to get better. WE have to fight for THEIR lives because depression takes away their ability to fight.
The issue is that we aren’t educated about mental illnesses in any capacity unless we choose certain career paths in college. That means most of us don’t ever really learn about what mental illnesses are and how they work, and those of us that do, don’t learn about them until at least the age of 18. That to me, is a serious flaw in any education system. Mental health should be addressed from day one of primary school. It should not be stumbled upon at the age of 18 for the first time, when a lot of the suicides in Ireland happen before that age.
If we all learned about mental health issues, it would be easier to spot signs of depression. It would be easier to confront our close ones who are suffering, if we understood how we should approach the topic and where to turn to for help. It would be easier for parents to sleep at night if they knew their kids were being educated about what really matters, learning what could potentially save a life one day. It would be easier to live knowing you could save a friend’s life one day if it came down to it.
But no, instead we’ll learn about Shakespeare and how fucking waterfalls form because knowledge about arbitrary bullshit is more important than potentially saving the lives of young people, according to our education system.
The tragedy is, people assume that it’s the person who has depression that needs the most help. In reality, it is the people who aren’t affected who surround the person that need help. We need to be educated so that we can actually make a difference.