I'm on both sides of this.
On one side of the spectrum, I think that mental illness should be ignored. The stigma should stay, and schools should never talk about it. Before you hate me, here's why:
Many eating disorders, mental illnesses, and self harmers only begin when they find out about it. My own self harm began once I met my friend who was cutting, and that idea was planted in my head. Sure, it isn't her fault, but it definitely triggered me into self harm. I wasn't even depressed at the time.
Once you try something, you might become addicted to it. If a happy innocent person gets told 'don't cut yourself. Don't starve yourself. Don't succumb to depression and anxiety' that person who didn't even know what mental illness was now does. And now that person can go look up 'anorexia' or 'cutter' and see people doing it and want to try it.
That's what happened to me. I found out about self harm, and then tried it because i was a young stupid 11 year old. By the time i was 12 i was self harming every day and to this day I have scars up and down my arms and legs. When you cut, it doesn't just hurt your skin. It starts to affect your mind, and I became extremely depressed and insecure. When i was 13, i became anorexic and dropped from a bmi of 23 to 16. By 14, i was bulimic and purging 5-8 times a day.
That life was so miserable, which is why i'm so so wary of people telling others about mental illness. I want as little people as possible to know this. Of course, the MyTake I'm doing right now is contradicting that. Which is how I come to the other end of the spectrum:
Mental illness should be educated to everyone. As many people as possible should know about it. It should be as widely known as possible. Here's why:
If more people know about it, not only can we help educate them about the fact that it is not something you ever want to try, but when someone shows signs of mental illness, they can get help right away.
Getting help is EXTREMELY important!!! My bulimia was unknown from everyone for almost a year. Over that year, it got progressively worse and worse. I would binge on so much food and purge it all up to 10 times a day. I would never eat something and not purge it. I lost so much weight and became sickly looking.
I fully believe that if I had gotten help earlier, I would never have ended up skeletal and even more messed up in the head than when I started. I did show signs of bulimia. Weight loss, fatigue, binging, running to the bathroom after eating, yet since no one around me was educated in it, nobody found out until it became obvious when puke was found in the plumbing.
I also believe that if I had gotten help after the first few cuts, I never would have ended up so depressed. The thing is, when you are the one with the illness, you don't want to get help, even though that is what is good for you.
I just wanted to lose weight without anyone bothering me or interfering. Getting forced to gain weight while very underweight was much more painful than it would have been when i was a normal weight, because my mind had been sickened even more.
People need to know the signs and look out for them so people who are suffering can be put into therapy, IP, OP, etc, can recover before they go too far off the deep end.
But I also don't believe in this completely. Which puts me in the middle of the spectrum:
We should educate people about this only at an age in which it is assumed that most people won't want to try it out. To be honest, I only tried cutting because I was so young. I was in elementary school! Younger people are much more vulnerable to becoming addicted to things like that. Because that is what eating disorders and cutting are: addictions. And they lead to depression and anxiety and other issues.
Maybe when people turn 18, or even 21, we can begin to bring light on this topic.
But no matter what, it is impossible to shield people from becoming ill. A lot of the time, you don't even need a trigger to become depressed. Some people are born that way. Others are born feeling the need to restrict and lose weight and starve. It is just the way it is.
Also because of social media and the internet, there is no way to completely avoid talk about this. Which is why it remains a problem, and will always remain a problem.
I know for a fact that I began cutting because my best friend was doing it. And i know that i became anorexic when she told me that she also starved herself. But I am also almost positive that I would have had all these issues even if I never met this girl.