Shining a light

How to start discussing mental health issues

“Heathers: The Musical” shines a light on suicide and mental health. But some can’t handle the intense talk about those topics, either because of personal experiences or they just don’t feel comfortable talking about the hard to explore topics.

For those that have no clue what “Heathers” is about, “Heathers” is basically a modern day “Mean Girls.” There are these three girls named Heather: Heather McNamara, Heather Duke and the lead Heather Chandler. They meet a girl named Veronica who quickly falls for the cliche bad boy J.D. otherwise known as Jason Dean, who is far too much trouble to handle.

The morning after a big party Veronica goes over to Heather Chandler’s house with J.D to help her with a hangover, and J.D ends up poisoning Heather. So they don’t get caught they write a fake suicide note, this ends up spiraling out of control as they continue this cycle of killing and making it look like a suicide, until Veronica has had enough she fakes hanging herself so when J.D finds her he thinks she’s dead. But she is really planning to turn on him and stop the chaos.   

If just reading the brief summary of “Heathers” freaks you out then this school is doing something wrong. The reason for this is that whenever you bring up mental illness people laugh, because what this generation goes to when it comes to hard topics is humor. That is why you constantly see people cracking jokes about suicide. We want to deny it but it’s the sad truth. People are constantly using the line “go kill yourself” as a joke, but what’s funny about that?

The reason so many people are unwilling to ‘talk to someone’ is the idea that if you self harm, have thoughts of suicide, or have any mental illness you will be seen as an attention seeker.

This can be very triggering for people that are actually really struggling with keeping themselves together, or even keeping themselves alive. When someone with a mental illness hears the word “attention seeker” they feel even worse than they already did,.

People are scared to talk about the hard issues but if you don’t talk about it, how will you break through? The hardest part of recovery is talking about what you’ve been through. Yes you’ll probably feel like it’d be better to keep it all hidden and stay a mystery. But really it’s way, way worse to keep it all in. Once you open up, no matter how hard it is. You feel the biggest weight lift up off of you. And it’s probably the best feeling in the world. At the time at least.

If you as a person with a mental illness haven’t talked about your experiences or even how your feeling then having a musical that talks heavily about suicide would be hard to manage because sooner or later people may start to question why your freaking out, or why you care. Or my favorite: it’s just a joke. They say that until it’s too late.

Words are powerful, they have the power to inspire you and build you up but they also have the power to break you down and hurt you. People don’t understand this they don’t get how impactful a few words can be. They can either make or destroy someone’s day.

Musicals and plays are a piece of art. They were inspired by something, some event or past experience the director or script writer has gone through. And so yes, I agree it is super difficult to hear things about suicide; especially when everyone around you is treating it like just another joke. But to shrug everything off and joke about it while the people around you that may be dealing with depression is to ignore the problem.

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