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Running head: MENTAL HEALTH AND COLLEGE STUDENTS: A PROPOSAL

Mental Health and College Students: A Proposal


Jaime Blasongame
Salt Lake Community College

Running head: MENTAL HEALTH AND COLLEGE STUDENTS: A PROPOSAL

Mental Health and College Students: A Proposal


Mental Health. How do we evaluate something that no one wants to talk about,
something no one wants to admit to, something people have are afraid of? How can we
determine those who need help when half of those who need it refuse to talk about their
experiences? I have skimmed articles on mental health over the last two weeks including a
survey U.C.L.A has conducted every year for the past thirty years. A section of this survey asks
college freshman to rate their mental well-being. In the 2010 survey a record low was recorded
in freshman mental health, the primary catalyst was thought to be the state of the U.S economy at
the time. The most recent survey (2014) states that the mental health of college freshman is at a
new record low. As a college freshman myself, this information makes too much sense. The
stigma towards mental illness makes those suffering feel abhorrent towards themselves. Anxiety
and depression make talking to other people hard in the first place, thinking people are afraid of
you does not make you want to share your insecurities. The stigma against mental illness needs
to be put to rest. I propose better, more open education on the causes and treatments of mental
illness and why it is better to both speak up and listen than to keep quiet. If people learn what
mental illness actually is, then there will be less fear
General Information Regarding Mental Illness
Now, mental health disorders are not limited to emerging adults, but for the sake of this
paper I am looking at a group that I am a part of. Some depression and anxiety is normal during
this time in a persons life. Moving away from home, losing friends, feeling like you are making
all of the wrong decisions: all factors that can contribute to a less-than-stable mental outlook.
While feeling a little sad and overwhelmed during emerging adulthood is predicted; feeling
overwhelmed at the thought of getting out of bed every morning is not. People, both those

Running head: MENTAL HEALTH AND COLLEGE STUDENTS: A PROPOSAL

suffering from mental illness and those who are not, need to understand that they are not
completely alone in this world. There are plenty of people who understand what you are going
through if you choose to accept it. Telling people what you have gone through, or are going
through is the first step in helping yourself and other people who are in similar situations. The
National Alliance on Mental Illness provides information and support for those struggling with
mental illness
Depression is among the most common mental illnesses suffered by those around the
world and it is tricky. An individual can have what is called situational depression, which is
brought on by particular stressors and often ceases when those stressors are alleviated or they can
have clinical depression which is linked to life trauma, stress, suicidal ideation, and genetics.
Clinical depression is often linked to chemical imbalances in the brain and can be treated with
antidepressants depending on that persons individual symptoms. Situational depression is
typical for most young adults; though, if it persists for more than a couple of weeks treatment
should be sought. Situational depression can develop into clinical depression if it is ignored.
Depression kills brain cells; the longer a person suffers from depression, the smaller their
hippocampus (the brains center for memory and emotion) becomes, due to deteriorating
neurons. When a person is put on medication to treat their depression, new brain cells are
stimulated and that persons mood increases.

Running head: MENTAL HEALTH AND COLLEGE STUDENTS: A PROPOSAL

Depressed vs. Healthy Brain:


Mayo clinic PET scan

Pressure to Succeed
Today, young adults face more pressure to succeed than ever before. High school students
take rigorous classes in preparation for secondary education on top of participating in numerous
extra curriculars. Students are told that they need to look as good as possible on paper if they
want to get into the best colleges. It is a lot for a person whose brain has not even fully
developed to deal with. This pressure only increases when you begin college; continuing the
things you started in high school while adding extra stressors (work, maintaining grades for
scholarship money, and more homework than in the past). Now, add into that a debilitating
mental disorder that you are afraid of telling anyone about and you have an equation for disaster.

Running head: MENTAL HEALTH AND COLLEGE STUDENTS: A PROPOSAL

http://www.heri.ucla.edu/monographs/TheAmericanFreshman2014.pdf
Tried Solutions
There are a wide variety of solutions that are in effect right now. The most common are
just suggestions. Peers and instructors alike can urge you to get help: attend therapy, look into
medications, or even open up to them about the things you are going through. Whatever the
relationship, these suggestions often will not lead to an actual solution. It is not easy to find a
cheap therapist and you fear you will annoy friends and family with your seemingly constant
state of existential crisis.
Solution
Mandatory education on mental illness. Everyone learns about some of the causes and
effects of mental illness in their high school education, but it is not enough. Though, it is enough
to cause the stigma that we see every day against illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar
disorder. Health classes are broad; there purpose to teach you how to prevent otherwise
debilitating conditions and disease. Mental illness is not something that you can necessarily.
Students, young and old alike, need to be taught that mental illness is not a bad thing. The stigma
towards mental illness is fed by lack of knowledge. The more people know about symptoms,
treatments, etc. the faster the stigma will die.
Many people will reject this solution simply because it would require another class. It
would mean that you would have to add one more class to your schedule in order to graduate.
This is true. It would require another in-depth class, but that should not be a deterrent. Everyone
knows someone suffering from mental illness in some way. Recognizing that they need help or
that you can help would be an advantage to your life and theirs.

Running head: MENTAL HEALTH AND COLLEGE STUDENTS: A PROPOSAL

Conclusion
Mental illness is not something to be feared. It is only scary to those who do not
understand it. If we implement mandatory education on the causes and treatments of mental
illness the stigma against those who suffer from them will cease to exist. Education on mental
illness should be added onto the encouragement to seek help because it may not always make a
difference, but it had potential to save a life.

You can take the pledge to be #stigmafree by visiting the website below.

https://www.nami.org/

Running head: MENTAL HEALTH AND COLLEGE STUDENTS: A PROPOSAL

Works Cited
http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/data-mine/2015/02/06/college-freshmen-socialize-less-feeldepressed-more
http://psychiatristscottsdalearizona.blogspot.com/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/20/science-depression-asapscience_n_5696226.html
http://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pet-scan/multimedia/-pet-scan-of-the-brain-fordepression/img-20007400
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/27/education/27colleges.html?_r=0
https://www.nami.org/
https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions
https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Know-the-Warning-Signs
https://slcc.instructure.com/courses/315343/files/49822076/download (Sample Journal)