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Meaningful Street Art In Our Community

I saw this at a bus stop in Fox Ridge and was shocked. I haven't seen any street art or graffiti around Blacksburg in the past three years. And I would definitely not expect to see something so serious written at a bus stop.

I’m not sure who wrote this or what the context was; maybe it was a joke. Or maybe they thought others would be able to relate. Not sure. For me, I didn’t think it was a joke but instead someone who really thought the life they are living now is not as pleasurable or meaningful as the one they use to live.

Poor mental health is an issue that plagues this country, along with many other countries across the world. The stigma around seeking help for mental health related issues is still very prevalent. As a psychology major, this is something that is very important to me; I am a part of many organizations that work to decrease this stigma. To a certain extent it has worked but there is still a negative connotation towards words like therapy, counseling, and talking about mental health in general.

However, stigma is not the only issue. The lack of therapists, counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and other professionals in this field is problematic. This is very prevalent on Tech’s campus as we can see Cook Counseling seems to be perpetually short staffed. It seems like not having proper funding is a common problem in the mental health field in all areas. Whether that be on a college campus, in a hospital, or in any community. The amount of barriers that individuals have to overcome in order to receive proper treatment is what I believe to be the biggest issue regarding mental health.

That being said, even those with money, even those who seem to have the resources to seek help, still struggle with mental illness. There are countless celebrities who have died due to mental illness consuming their life; who yearned for the days when life meant more than it did at the moment; who maybe even thought life never meant anything at all.

I know the death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington was particularly hard on me. From the outside looking in, he had it all. He had a large family and his music was still relevant in the media after so many years in the music industry. It was clear that he struggled with mental illness for years but it is never easy when someone in the spotlight commits suicide. Some think if a person has the funds and resources to receive the help they need that they should be fine. As we know, this is not true. It is very hard to grasp why some people struggle while others don’t.

My hope is that our society will continue to grow to the point where seeking help for a mental illness is as casual as going to the doctor for strep and as well treated.

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