My school is running a mental health campaign that involves two buttons where one says “how are you?” and the other says “no really, how are you?”. I know that it sounds like just another campaign that the university is running, and most of you are probably rolling your eyes at the screen right now. I thought the same thing when I first heard about this campaign, but bear with me, and finish reading this post.
A couple days ago, one of my best friends from high school called me, all the way from Toronto. She was crying. Not just normal tears, but those kinds of tears – the kind that you hear when the issue is much more than a low mark, an annoying professor, or a fight with a partner.
Now I know that I’m very lucky to have a best friend who I just know. We don’t even have to talk. In fact, sometimes we don’t talk for a month or two, and we’re still best friends. We’ve reached the point of understanding. There’s a distinct lack of high school drama, we don’t have classes together anymore, and our lives are just different. Through all of that though, we’re still the same people, and I know her just as well as she knows me.
I know my best friend as a likeable, incredibly intelligent, and passionate person. She is bubbly and fun, involved in several extra curricular activities, and is probably the last person you would ever expect to get angry. Most people who know her would agree that she is a strong girl. In my six years of knowing her, I have seen her cry once, and heard her cry only one other time. When she got upset, she never looked for advice, but rather, a person to rant to, just to let out her frustration.
So when she called me crying, I asked her the only question that I knew she wanted to hear.
“What do you need?”
Friends, let me tell you something that I learned just a couple of days ago. I mean, I’ve known this for a while, but never really grasped what it meant. Poor mental health can affect anyone and everyone. A person who is depressed might not be sulking alone in a corner all the time. A person with an eating disorder might not avoid junk food like the plague. A person who cuts might not show their scars. Everything, on the surface, could look cheerful. And yet, about one in four college students are or have been depressed, and something like 97% of mental health issues are never reported. This isn’t just school anymore, this is life. Let people know that you care, because you never know when they might call for help.
Photo courtesy of haley8 via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).
There is more than one type of depression. Watch the video below for more information.