News and Mental Health, by Katie Chu, Member of Mental Health Hub with Global Co Lab Network

Although the summer is often a time full of fun and relaxation, it is essential that we discuss current events that have enormous connections to mental health and well-being. Today we will be highlighting the invasion of Ukraine, the gun bill, and the Supreme Court’s Abortion Ruling as well as their impacts on mental health and wellbeing. 

The invasion of Ukraine has been an ongoing conflict that has tremendous detrimental mental health impacts globally. The frequent bombs and damage done to innocent Ukrainian residents and their family members have resulted in mental health illnesses such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Anxiety Disorders, and Depression. In addition, the invasion has disastrous effects on global mental health as civilians from all over the globe watch Ukrainian residents slaughtered with houses and buildings destroyed on the news. Societies and organizations have reached out to aid those affected by mental health illnesses by sending psychiatrists and humanitarian assistance to Ukraine. However, the mental health impacts definitely need to be considered, especially knowing that mental health issues have often been overlooked in Ukraine due to social stigma.

Moreover, the recent gun bill was passed on June 23rd by the US government. Following the Uvalde shootings in Texas, there are new efforts to curb mental health illnesses associated with increased rates of gun violence. The new gun bill could be meaning progress toward supporting the mental health of students and adolescents. The introduction of this bill has encouraged experts to call for greater access to mental health services in general. Currently, the biggest obstacles are concerns regarding where the funding would go and that experts would slowly lose momentum in tackling the mental health crisis.

The latest news on the Supreme Court’s Abortion Ruling has only been exacerbating the mental health crisis as women lose rights to their own bodies. This ruling has resulted in barriers to abortion, which could result in increased stress, anxiety, and depression. In addition, unwanted pregnancy could lead to interpersonal violence and a greater risk of domestic violence. This could worsen mental health illnesses and stress. Although some proponents of no abortion claim that abortions could lead to mental health issues, there is actually no clear evidence for that. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association President Frank C. Worrell, a Ph.D., “[r]igorous, long-term psychological research demonstrates clearly that people who are denied abortions are more likely to experience higher levels of anxiety, lower life satisfaction, and lower self-esteem compared with those who are able to obtain abortions.” It is essential that policymakers understand the difficulties women face when making their own decisions.

In general, mental health is often an aspect that is overlooked but plays an essential role in the well-being of those affected by such events. That is why as teens we feel the discussion on mental health and creating a safe environment for people to talk about their struggles is vital. Please click here if you are a teen and would like to contribute to expanding awareness of mental health issues and fighting stigma.  We would love to have you join us!