It’s hard to overstate how important destigmatizing mental illness is.

Students should have context for what’s happening in their brains and have access to trained therapists. Employees should feel comfortable admitting they need help without fearing for their jobs. There’s so much good that’s coming from Bell Canada’s multi-year campaign to lessen mental health stigma.

And yet, if individuals don’t take responsibility for getting the sleep they need, taking their phones into bed with them, they will continue to be at risk for anxiety.

And yet, if tech companies continue creating social media apps that function like slot machines, and telecommunication companies continue spreading them, people will continue experiencing anxiety.

And yet, if schools continue measuring and celebrating students solely based on GPA’s, SAT scores, and the prestige of their chosen college, students will continue having anxiety.

And yet, if coaches prioritize performance and winning above all else, student-athletes will continue having anxiety.

And yet, if our environment is still automobile-dependent, people won’t be outside exercising, and will continue having anxiety.

And yet, if institutions and communities continue to crumble, people will continue experiencing loneliness, and hence, anxiety.

These roots run deep, and that’s where people who care will start.

[PS — I’m not a mental health professional, but it doesn’t take one to see some obvious cause-effect relationships with people and their environments.

The roots of my thinking on this topic come from a book, by an admittedly controversial author: We’ve Had a Hundred Years Of Psychotherapy–And the World’s Getting Worse. Of course, this is not to discourage individuals from seeking treatment, which can be life-saving.

Last year I did an interview with the then-director of our counseling center, Tracy Stenger: “The Rise of Anxiety in College: Fredonia Director of Counseling Tracy Stenger on the Changing Landscape of Mental Health on Campus“.]