At a time when youth mobilisation worldwide is urging governments to take on their duties at last and tackle global health threats with no delay, PEAH is pleased to publish an appeal by a fifteen-year-old health advocate aimed at curbing mental health stigma
By Tiffany Osibanjo
Youth Councillor (St Albans and Harpenden), Young Commissioner and Health Ambassador, St George’s School
How Political Correctness Can Change Society’s Views On Mental Health
Depression and anxiety rates have increased by 70% among the adolescent in the past 25 years. 1 in 4 people experience mental health problems in the UK every year, and some figures suggest that 70% of children and young people don’t receive the help they need at a sufficiently early age. These statistics prove that urgent attention and prioritization for mental health is required. Too many teenagers are afraid to talk about mental health for fear of being judged or treated differently.
The problem at hand could partly be rectified by encouraging society to join the discussion on mental health, where talking about our issues and anxieties becomes the norm. This is where political correctness should be one of the solutions we are looking for.
Political correctness is usually a term that’s referred to as avoiding language and demonstrations of insult to those, suffering discrimination or are, at a disadvantage in society. An example of ‘politically correct behaviour’ may be: Asking a person about their ‘partner’, instead of using gendered terms that may be of insult. Unfortunately, many believe political correctness is a term that many hide behind to escape the harsh truths of reality that there is inequity in society.
However, instead of using the term to draw controversy and debates, it can be one of the solutions for the stigma surrounding mental health. As a united society, the world leaders could encourage the discussion of mental health and its urgent prioritization through the use of ‘politically correct ‘language. Instead of political correctness being a term used for avoiding insulting language, it could be a term for promoting positive demonstrations of support, through words, actions and possibly social media to ensure a socially sustainable society.
Political correctness when used effectively, can make one’s transition into modern society easier and help reduce social isolation. In mental health terms, this may help reduce the stigma significantly, and make the other interventions and solutions more effective such as youth focus groups.
Youth focus groups have started emerging including youth councils, which could be used as a platform to drive this initiative. I also turn to global leaders to initiate other local and community programmes involving the youth; to discuss the challenges and solutions to mental health and possibly use testimonies of those previously suffering mental health issues to create hope and change for the future.
Change may happen soon through the prioritization of mental health for a better future and a better world.
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/a-to-z/c/children-and-young-people. – mental health foundation