By the Editorial Board

On Tues. Sept., 10, the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) honored World Suicide Prevention Day.

Over the summer, the hashtag, #HotGirlSummer trended.

However, as summer fades, the new hashtag, #SadGirlFall, emerged.

#SadGirlFall encourages girls to watch sad movies, listen to sad music and allow themselves to be overwhelmed by the end of the year.

In an article published on Ellen commented: “Sad girl fall is the best time to be cold, cozy and honestly a little mis,” the article provides reasons as to why one can be sad during the fall including the end of summer, the cold weather, being single, toxic family life and as the article puts it, “The possibilities are endless!”

While this may be a running joke on social media, the hashtag shines light on the culture in which we treat mental health: a cool trendy hashtag.

However, we were left wondering: what impact does one post have?

When one posts on social media, they partake in a larger conversation, spreading a particular message.

While this can be used for good, it can also cause the message to be taken out of the context.

On social media, we cannot glorify mental illness or the symptoms that it causes. 

Being sad is not trendy. It is not a ‘mood.’ 

This trendy treatment of mental health extends to T.V. shows, showing self-harm on camera.

While its good these shows are shining a light on the struggles with mental health, graphically depicting one’s self-harm is completely unnecessary to the act of spreading awareness.

When you have someone you love struggle with mental illness, your job is not to ‘cure them’ or to diagnose them. Your job is to break the stigma surrounding the mental illness.

We are left with this question: How can we spread awareness in a way that does not stigmatize mental illness?

The reality is many people struggle with mental illness. The leader you look up to on campus, the professor who seems a little ‘off,’ the student who sits in the front of class or the friend down the hall who never leaves their room: mental illness can look like anyone.

We must listen and not offer judgement. Oftentimes, there is shame involved in admitting one is struggling, not just with mental health, but anything.

No one wants to fail and to many, admitting one is struggling feels like a failure.

The greatest victory and most courageous act we can do is be honest with ourselves. 

Beyond struggling with mental illness, therapy can help individuals learn about healthy relationships, establish a positive view of self and develop important problem solving skills. Therapy can be and is an asset for everyone because it makes one feel seen, known and listened to in an objective manner.

There are so many people out there, you have yet to meet, who want to love you so deeply.

There are people who know you who do love you deeply.

While mental illness may feel like a never-ending black hole, there is always someone who wants you to feel seen.

We know this because it is why we tell stories: to make everyone feel a little bit more known than before.

There are people who want to see you, know you and most importantly love you. 

If you or someone you know is struggling and in need of immediate assistance, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (1-800)-273-8255 or instant message from their website.