The Washington Park community is full of different resources and organizations that are there to help better the lives of those in the community; however, mental health is still a taboo topic in many communities and people do not know where to seek help. First we learned about how mental illness is extremely common, even though it is swept under the rug, because violence and poverty in communities can lead to things like anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. These specific mental illnesses are prevalent throughout south side communities, but many people that have these illnesses are not diagnosed. The topic of mental illness is not discussed in most communities because of the negative stigma behind genuinely having a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, and so many other things. Many people believe that when one has a mental illness they are “crazy”. The image that pops in most most people’s mind when they hear the term mental illness is a person in a mental asylum tied up in a straight jacket. This is why many people do not associate themselves with having a mental illness they disregard it as a phase leading them to not seek help.
Choosing mental health was not a very strenuous task because mental health has so many different factors that affects it ranging from your dietary habits to community violence/ your surroundings. Mental health has a wide variety of different topics to chose from because there are already so many known diseases and affects that can bother somebody mentally and even some diseases that are not known about. The team managed to narrow the topic by focusing on anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts which are more common in a lot south side communities and these illness can be easily addressed if the individuals seek the proper help and care.
The specific moments that helped us choose our topic was the conversation we had with Davonna Brown, a social worker at KLEO, about the issues and community. Based off of the conversation we had with Ms.Brown, we decided that the root to all of the problems was mental illness because she discussed the lack of advertising these help group places have, prompting us to create a mental health PSA. We also spoke with a Ms.Arnetha, the wife of a former US veteran, and how she has seen mental illness affect her husband and other former US vets because of the trauma they face being in combat from PTSD, depression, anxiety, etc. We then decided we wanted to create a way to talk about mental illness that made it less of a taboo topic. We also had a conversation about mental illness and shared our personal experience. Mental illness affects everyone in different ways and we want to create a safe space to address the issue.