San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

It’s time to recognize mental health with a federal holiday

Society does not do a good enough job to recognize the importance of mental health during May, its awareness month
Illustration by Gabriel Scodeller.

Christmas and Thanksgiving, two of the biggest federal holidays in the United States, are supposed to be days in which you can relax, take a day off of work and spend time with friends and family.

Yet, on Christmas, you are expected to get the perfect gift for friends and family. On Thanksgiving, you scramble to make the perfect dinner in time for the primetime football game. What was supposed to be a stress-free day becomes a mental burden.

The month of May was officially named “Mental Health Awareness Month” in 1949 to signify the importance of mental health and how people struggle with mental health issues. Although it sheds a dim light on mental health, there should be a brighter spotlight so everyone is reached.

May 1st should be sworn in as a federal holiday called “Mental Health Awareness Day,” in which people don’t have school and most businesses are closed so employees can have a day to relax and focus on themselves.

Close to one in five U.S. adults, totaling 52.9 million people, live with a mental illness (that they know of or were capable of speaking up about), according to a study by National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2021. Furthermore, one in 20 U.S adults experience serious mental illness each year.

It is no secret that the younger generation is trying to promote the importance of mental health, but that message does not reach everybody who is afraid to seek help through therapy or even speak to others about mental health issues they are going through. The topic of mental health should be nationally recognized so it reaches every generation.

Jasmine Rodriguez, a contestant on season seven of the MTV reality show “Are You The One?” was recently diagnosed with psychogenic non-epileptic seizures (PNES) — which can be caused by psychological distress.

She rarely hears anybody talk about mental health during the month of May, other than a flyer or Instagram story. She is outspokenly in favor of declaring May 1st as “Mental Health Awareness Day”

“I think (it would be great) for one day to absolutely have no responsibility of needing to be around family, ‘you need this,’ no gifts, no whatever,” Rodriguez said. “I think it would make more of a statement to take (mental health) more seriously and I think now more than ever, mental health has been a huge outlet that people have been seeing on social media.”

Jasmine Rodriguez, a contestant on season seven of the MTV reality show “Are You The One?”, believes that Mental Health Awareness Month does not make a statement for mental health importance. (Photo by Jasmine Rodriguez)

Society needs to take mental health more seriously. There should be a mental health holiday, rather than posts on the internet about it with no action.

In the mid-2010’s, a small sum of people thought the issue around mental health should not be a focal point for the U.S. Government.

According to a 2016 survey of 1,025 adults by the American Psychiatric Association, 20% of the respondents believed that mental health should not be a priority for Congress. Another 52% said it was “somewhat less of a priority.”

Six years later, following a pandemic that deteriorated people’s mental health, the conversation around mental health is rising. A CNN poll conducted in 2022 found that nine out of 10 adults now say mental health is a crisis in the United States.

When the pandemic began, I was on the verge of turning 21 years old. As I was contemplating life, I became fearful of the idea of death. On top of that, a deadly virus started going around. As a result of those intrusive thoughts, I developed a lot of mental health issues and my anxiety reached an all-time high.

Now, I have accepted the concept of death and managed my anxiety better, but I still deal with mental health issues to this day. Many days out of the year, I have unresolved anxiety and it would be nice to have a day that recognizes my struggles. And, I know I am not alone.

That is why there needs to be a holiday that stamps mental health in our brains, showing its importance. “Mental Health Awareness Day” would be a stress free day where you don’t need to worry about anything or get something for somebody. There is no holiday like it that exists.

If the United States creates a federal holiday that recognizes everyone dealing with stress, depression and anxiety, then you will see more mental health acknowledgement and people seeking help.

No worries about burning the turkey or if you got the right gift for somebody. Just sit back, relax and prioritize your mental health.

About the Contributor
Adam Correa
Adam Correa, Senior Staff Writer
Adam is a senior at San Diego State University studying journalism and media studies. This is his second year with The Daily Aztec. He loves watching sports, reading, and going to the gym in his free time. He mainly writes for the sports section, but also loves doing on-camera reporting and multimedia content. He previously was the assistant sports editor and blog editor for The Telescope newspaper at Palomar College. In the summer of 2022, he did an internship with Thesocialtalks digital newspaper, where he wrote for the latest news, opinion, and sports section. When he graduates from San Diego State University, he wants to be a sports writer for a popular newspaper organization or a sports reporter for a tv station.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
It’s time to recognize mental health with a federal holiday