Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year. Mental illness can range from anxiety to bipolar disorder to depression. Mental illness is a serious matter that can take a toll on so many people’s lives. Suffering from any sort of mental illness is exhausting, mentally and physically draining.

The Issue

Our generation is consumed by the endless world of social media, myself included. Although I would love to say that I’m not always on my phone, that's just not the case. I frequently check Facebook, snapchat my friends, text, and scroll through Instagram. However, it’s extremely upsetting that mental illness has become a topic that social media has glorified. I constantly come across memes and posts that talk about mental illness in a light-hearted and joking manner. Trust me, I get it. We all have bad days and extremely stressful weeks. However, there’s a distinct line between feeling stressed and being clinically depressed.

The Role of Social Media  

Our society utilizes social media to glorify mental illness, which is extremely insensitive for many who struggle. Recently, the show "13 Reasons Why" was released on Netflix. The plot revolves around a girl named Hannah, and the story of her suicide. While “13 Reasons Why” is an extremely emotional story, meant to send an important message about bullying and suicide awareness, "welcome to your tape" memes have been made for the entertainment of social media users. It is far from funny to mock “13 Reasons Why” in memes and other social media posts.

Make a Change

I’m saddened that our society glorifies mental illness. Realistically, I know that glorifying mental illness on social media will not change overnight. However, we have the power to help. Stop encouraging it. Stop tagging your friends memes that try to make mental illness "relatable". Instead, fill your Instagram feed with positivity and inspiration. Above all, fill your life with positivity.

Personally, I have struggled with anxiety ever since I was a kid. Growing up, I felt different than others, when I’d have a panic attack about the thought of having a sleepover at a friend’s house, when everyone else was purely excited. Over the years, with an incredible support system and coping mechanisms, I’ve learned how to manage my anxiety. However, it’s still something I struggle with everyday. As members of this generation, it's our responsibility to encourage growth and self-love.