How are you today? Good? Fine?
“How are you today?” We hear this question so often in our daily lives that many quickly respond automatically, without any thought. No matter how you are feeling, many of us are likely to say we are doing fine, even if we aren’t, but how many of us can answer this truthfully? How many of our children can answer the same to the following question? Why is there this shared reluctance in our community?
Mental health is one of the most important factors in our well-being. Our mind is the powerhouse of our bodies, allowing us to properly function. These processes, however, are affected when one’s mental health is in a decreased state. Long term effects of negative mental health disorders can be encumber some for the body, even manifesting itself in physical ways. This is especially true for children, whose brains are still developing. Data on children’s mental health provided by the CDC show that anxiety was found to be in 5.8 million United States children aged 3-17. It has also shown that there are links between certain disorders and race, such that “Children who were discriminated against based on race or ethnicity had higher percentages of one or more physical health conditions (37.8% versus 27.1%), and one or more mental health conditions (28.9% versus 17.8%).” Considering the role of race is crucial due to the amount of diversity present in America, especially in urban environments where diverse populations are generally greater.
One subset of this issue greatly deals with children feeling as though they have no community. A sense of community can greatly improve an individual’s mental health, as it gives them purpose and a place within society. Furthermore, having individuals to support your goals and differences allow a person struggling with mental health to find support more easily. Children, however, may not always be given this resource. This could be due to a number of factors, such as a varying school or family environment.
In turn, to relieve this issue, we should all take into account those in our lives and consider the amount we truly value our relationships with them. We should also consider how vulnerable we allow ourselves to be with these people. It is often common for those to feel as though their friendships are not personal enough, and therefore, they can not disclose such personal information about themselves. Doing this will allow the children in our live’s to see the positive impact this takes, and in turn, allows them to enable the same closeness within their own friendships, better strengthening community as an effect. Children beginning these actions so early in their life will engrain these traditions and maintain them into adulthood. After all, a community can only strengthen through the people that are in it. Wholly, when asking someone how they are feeling, we should do so with the intent of hearing their true response.