Pain, mental or physical, deserves treatment

Imagine this scenario: Someone and his/her friend decide they are going to go play a game of basketball at the rec center. The game gets pretty intense, and one of the friends falls down, slamming his/her knee into the floor. It’s obvious the knee is really messed up, maybe even broken. However, the injured person refuses to see a doctor.

“I’m fine,” he/she says. “I’m not some weakling — I’m tough.”

Despite the injured person’s claims that the knee would heal quickly, it soon becomes obvious that’s not the case.

At first, the person bravely hobbles around campus, perhaps getting to classes late and skipping lunches with friends. He or she is managing as well as possible on a bum knee, he/she rationalizes.

But then things get worse. The person starts missing class altogether, and he/she quits going out to get food because that’s too much trouble. The person either spends most days in bed, lying there, thinking about the swollen, throbbing knee, or attempts to self-medicate the pain away with alcohol or drugs.

All in the name of “being tough.”

Most people would think that such behavior is ridiculous and would let their friend know it. Most people wouldn’t even go the “tough route” in the first place — they’d seek help for their physical injury as soon as they could.

But what about emotional injuries? What about mental illness? That’s different, we think. On some level, many people equate seeing a mental health professional or taking medication to help with a mental illness as being “crazy.”

According to the Surgeon General’s Report on Mental Health, more than 54 million Americans have a mental disorder in any given year, although fewer than 8 million seek treatment ( With numbers like that, one might then deduce that mental/emotional illness could be considered part of the human experience.

Sadly, mental illness still seems to carry connotations of straitjackets, serial killers and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in many people’s minds.

It doesn’t have to be like that, though. Every day it is becoming easier and more acceptable to get relief from problems like depression, anxiety and eating disorders. For Kent State students in particular, there is help available practically at one’s fingertips.

University Psychological Services (available at (330) 672-2487 or online at offers myriad options for people suffering from emotional and mental illnesses. Patient information is kept confidential, and prices for the services offered are reasonable. If a person is in emotional pain, there is really no excuse not to get help.

The university has suffered two major tragedies in a little over two weeks’ time. The deaths of Sarah Positano, Chelsea Lausberg, Eric Citino and Brandon Butler can only be described as devastating, and one does not have to be directly connected to these terrible incidents to feel the waves of sorrow that emanate from them. If you feel badly, don’t hesitate to get help. There is no shame in seeking relief. Having (and seeking help for) emotional or mental wounds isn’t about being “crazy” or “weak.” It’s about being strong enough to be human.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.