Column: The humor surrounding mental health

When searching on Twitter for the hashtags #iwannadie, #iwanttokillmyself, or #killme, one can scroll for what seems like an eternity of posts which contain these phrases. However, one will notice that few of the tweets seem to be a cry for help. Instead, they are often people sharing daily inconveniences and accompanying them with these “jokes.” But what happens when these hashtags are no longer a joke? The humorization and light-heartedness of phrases such as “Kill me!” or “I want to die!” are used excessively in high school and social media, and this could have a detrimental effect on those in serious need of support.

Some high school students acknowledge that they throw around these phrases unnecessarily. With so much pressure from school and extracurriculars, students say they often find themselves using them as a reaction to stress. When asked about instances in which they chose bold words to express their discomfort, a similar response was given by multiple students: namely, school-related stress.

Academic pressure is a major concern in the lives of high school students. School has been a prominent part of their lives since childhood, and it is understandable that academic failures cause unwanted stress and anxiety. However, many people take it to an unnecessary level when saying “I want to die” or phrases of that nature.

Junior Delaney Chitwood focuses on avoiding use of these phrases as a way of respecting the hardships she has seen her friends go through.

“I know that a lot of people do [say these phrases], and I know it can be extremely triggering to a lot of people. So me, personally, I make a conscious effort not to say those things because I have experienced the death of some friends and I don’t want to take it in a joking manner,” Chitwood said.

With so many students dealing with deeply personal issues, making jokes about such serious topics can cause them to feel as though mental health is funny or that people who really struggle are just being dramatic. Senior Rachel Shen commented on how many people have a misconception of mental health.

“I think [talking lightly about mental health disorders] discourages people from reaching out because a lot of people don’t realize it’s a serious thing because a lot of people make jokes about it,” Shen said.

Mental health issues notoriously have had a negative stigma, and many students don’t realize their importance. Obtaining quality mental health is just as important as physical health in order to live a balanced and prosperous life.

Surrounded by these jokes daily, it can be hard to recognize when they are harmful to others nearby. Avoiding these phrases is vital in creating a comfortable environment surrounding mental health.