Mental health issues are not new. Being aware of mental health is not some millennial fad. These problems have always been around, it just happens to be now, in 2018, that the conversation around mental health is at its loudest.
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and I have one thing I need to say. The term ‘snowflake students’ needs to be BANNED, now!
Being called a ‘snowflake’ in a derogatory sense has been around for a while, and was in fact recognised in the Collins Dictionary in 2016 as the term for “the young adults of the 2010s, viewed as being less resilient and more prone to taking offence than previous generations”. Great – so what on Earth does that have to do with mental health? How is it justifiable to refer to an individual as a ‘snowflake student’ if they are taking steps to maintain their mental health or get help for their issues?
Recently, Staffs took the amazing step of introducing therapy rabbits Nibbles & Nugget to the Stoke-on-Trent campus as yet another fantastic mental health support service. The unveiling of their new hutch, which students have access to 24/7 to meet the rabbits, was covered by the local press. An article was published online, and immediately, the following comment came in from a member of the public:
This just riled me up. The insinuation that mental health is not a part of the real world just goes to show how far we still need to go before mental health is on par with physical health. Unseen illnesses are not any lesser! Just because you can see someone has a broken arm doesn’t mean they are in more pain than someone with depression. Mental health is not a taboo subject anymore, and should not be treated as such in 2018.
I can’t speak for every organisation or institution, but I can vouch for the support at Staffordshire University and it is incredible. The various campaigns that are run throughout the year, the free services on offer and the overall community feel amongst the students makes our University a fantastic place to be if you need a helping hand either personally or academically.
I can confirm, this exists in the real world as well.
We are NOT snowflake students, and we do not need to accept being called that for taking action against something that for centuries was misunderstood. To quote Barack Obama: “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change we seek”.
The hardest thing to do is change the beliefs of people, but our world will be better when we all believe that it is just as vital to maintain mental health as it is our physical health. We will get closer to that world, one Mental Health Awareness Week at a time.