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Educate yourself on topic of social health

DEAR EDITOR:

Semantics matter. Please use precise terms. Words have a powerful impact on people. Physical health is how well your body functions. Mental health is how we think, feel and behave. Social health is our ability to form and maintain strong, meaningful relationships with others. All three are equally important parts of our well-being. All of us have physical, mental and social health.

It is irresponsible, disrespectful and dangerous to conflate mental health and social health. It is a well-known fact that most individuals who are mentally ill are not violent. Violent people are violent. Influential people, like news reporters and social media commentators, must be more responsible when discussing important news events.

Stop perpetrating this misguided claim. Quit blaming mental illness as a factor in violent behavior. Stopping the stigma around mental health is a step in the right direction. Take away the shame and embarrassment rather than promoting them. We would all be better off if we could acknowledge that we each must tend to our physical, mental and social well-being. We should encourage one another to access resources, when needed, to live a quality life.

Using mental health as a scapegoat for the current situation in the world is the easy way out. The more honest and the tougher thing to do is look in the mirror. Ask yourself, “Am I part of the solution, or problem? Tell the truth.” Anyone who has ever needed mental health support is fully aware of the deficiencies of our current health care systems in place. Why make it any harder to help people?

How much do any of us really know about mental and social health? Wouldn’t you agree that most of us can become more informed and aware to improve not only our own social well-being, but also the social health of others in our community? Why aren’t there more experts speaking up and educating the public about social health? It certainly seems more education about social health is needed.

MOLLY ESTES

Newton Falls

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