Mental Health, Student Life
January 23, 2020 | PBAT MAGAZINE
By Albaro Baires, Iris Mora Farfan, Xingcheng Huang, Yarui Zhu
“Mental health is a big part of someone's life, it's like if you don't have a good mental. if you're not stable mentally, it's like preventing you from doing anything you want, like how are you supposed to focus on, like what you wanted to do if all you think about all day is how depressed you are, how you don't want to be doing this.” said by Yichen Hu who are learning the psychology at suny Albany.
A research found out that one in five adults in the United States has a mental illness each year, one in 25 American adults has a serious mental illness each year, and one in six young people between the ages of 6 and 17 has a mental illness each year. Thus teen depression is an issue that needs more attention and people need to be more educated in that case so that it can be resolved.
Students going through mental issues can affect their relationships with their surroundings and the development in academically and emotionally. Significantly, there were recent news of a large number of suicides in a college in a New Jersey, Rowan University. In less than a week, in November, another student has committed suicide, and students feel is shocking because it all happens in short amount of time. There’s been three students that has committed suicide in just one semester. The students and the college are battling to stop the suicides, trying to provide support and resources to students.
As a school news reporters FIHS Voices feels this is an important issue to focus and bring attention to as ignoring it will not solve the problem. It is important to us to talk about this issue of teenagers going through mental issues in our article because we want to raise awareness of teenagers going through mental issues and that that issue is not getting the attention required.
Teenagers mental health issues always are a serious problem. Many teenagers students become depressed, drop out of school, and even commit suicide because their mental health.
History of Mental Health Treatment
As part of our investigation we conducted an anonymous online survey of FIHS Seniors. The survey of 31 Senior Students in Flushing International High School shows most of them have had bad mental status during their life. Significantly, 23 out of 31 students say they have had terrible mental situations, which occupy nearly 77% of the one who took the survey.
FIHS Senior Survey
Including, 11 students have felt depressed, 15 students have felt stressed, 13 students have felt loneliness, 7 students have felt Anxious, 9 students have felt overwhelmed. Indeed, there are 8 students have all the symptoms mentioned above. For students that are affected by mental health issues, one of the primary sources of support is with a school counselor. Significantly, there are only 16 out of 31 students have gone to a school counselor to seek help. Once more, there are many students unsure about what school counselors can do to their mental health, including students feel counselors don’t help any, they are 23 out of 31 students felt the school counselors can not help with their mental issues as the graph above shows.
FIHS Senior Survey
The age for students who have taken our own survey is between 15 to 20 years old. For teenagers, most of them have felt uncomfortable with their mental as they feel anxious, depression, etc. That’s why there are counselors at schools, but a lot of students don’t go to the school counselor. We see how serious within this group, the majority have felt terrible mental status.
Note:”The rates reported on this page are estimates based on parent report, using nationally representative surveys. This method has several limitations. It is not known to what extent children receive these diagnoses accurately. Estimates based on parent-reported diagnoses may match those based on medical records,6 but children may also have mental disorders that have not been diagnosed.”
The statistical data of 2019 from the Center For Disease Control And Prevention shows the depression and anxiety increases as one ages to 17. There was about 26% of all people whose age is between 3-17 have experience depression and/or anxiety as the graph shows.
So compared to the U.S. there is a lot of the differences between our school compared and the country. Overall, about 58% of senior students in FIHS suffer from depression and anxiety, which are much higher than the United States. On the other hand, this means our school staff should also pay more attention to students' mental status, and students also need to find a way to lower the mental depression. The survey further indicated Flushing have higher occupation about teen mental health issues.
Difficulty with Diagnosis
Mental health is very different disease. It isn’t like a fracture or a fever that can be checked by looking or from a machine. For now the only way to know is for a psychologist or psychiatrist or other expert to check people to see if they have mental health problems. Similarly, there are no requirements for people to get mental health checkups like there are physical check ups every year. People may not care or understand about mental health, and even doctor also lose the checking for mental health.
Our group interviewed Surya who is studying Senior Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College, she said: “If you break your arm you can see it but if something going in your mind just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean is not there.” When people don’t understand mental illness, they don't care how people’s mental feeling. In before 1986s, mental health frequently and uncritically reported as actual disease. Every people will get different, arbitrary diagnostic result. Mental illness can’t diagnosis from machine. All of diagnosis were from true people doctor talking with patient and get results.
Now researchers were trying to get diagnostic method that were no bias. People can get diagnostic that were equal. "Although diagnostic labels create the illusion of an explanation they are scientifically meaningless and can create stigma and prejudice," says research psychiatrist Kate Allsopp. A research find out the recent estimates of the amount of mental health doctors range between 550.000 to 700,000 in the United States. It is obvious that there is not enough mental health professionals to treat the number of people with mental health issues, as 25% of people in the United States (approximately 80 million) is believed to suffer from a mental health disorder.
The 41 million health records for the Blue Cross Blue Shield data and counts as people got a diagnosis of major depression. However, many people who report depression say they haven't been diagnosed. And also one in five children has a diagnosable mental health situation. However, it is hard to help these children. At least 85% of them didn’t get a treatment. Furthermore, there was only 41 percent of the 3.1 million adolescents with depression received treatment in 2016. Stigma and cultural norms of mental health are some of the barriers to mental health treatment. Child and adolescent psychiatrists are also in short supply in some parts of the United States, especially in rural areas. There are more than 15 million children and adolescents require psychiatric care, compared with only 8,300 child and adolescent psychiatrists in the United States.
In the U.S. also have most people don’t have to visit a doctor every month, even every week. U.S. medical insurance is included in the mental health treatment. But the medical insurance were not free for all of the people, some children can pay more cheap. When people sick everyone need pay for treatment. This is a serious problem now happen in U.S. when people can’t pay for the insurance. Significantly, “10.3% (over 4.7 million) of adults with a mental illness remain uninsured. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the U.S. continues to see a decline in Americans who are uninsured. There was a 1.9 percent reduction from last year’s dataset.”
Finding Support for Teens
Hotlines are an important support for people have mental health. The hotlines in most time were free to call. Also they will give the support when people need 911 call or emergency services. Hotlines would like confidentiality and support. From Community Alliance, Aileen Brady said “In Omaha, 9 in 10 people who contact Safe Harbor Peer Crisis Services reported its warmline prevented their hospitalization.” Hotlines are also is the way that when people have depressed will first think and call.
Now in the internet has a lot of mental health organizations. Some organizations may not be able to support for the whole day. That will make people when they need to talk with people telling them how to fix their mental illness, they can’t get support on those organization. This is a problem for most support mental health organization. They didn’t submit the the time and day they online.
NYC Well Poster
One organization that our investigation contacted is NYC well, an organization that is advertised in NYC public schools, pretending to be a patient who is suffering from depression and asking for help.
In the beginning they said “Hi here is NYC well if you have an emergency please call 911. Hi, how are you feeling?” After I answer say I’m feeling depressed and don’t know how to do. Subsequently they asked me the following question to know what happened “Why are you feeling the way you feel about it?” “What kind of help you looking for exactly?” “Have you thought about what is real?” I give them the answer is “ I’m not sure what happened but I was feeling depressed and angry to friend.” I also have to say that I’m not having hallucinations. When organization ask about real most is make sure patient didn’t drug or fantasy. They first ask me should they help me to visit psychiatric or therapists and ask have I before using any drug. I said no and what can I do on it.
This organization gives me some recommendations, which areI may ask school counselors or I can talk with adult or other friend. They also have asked some questions that what now my doctor can help, and when I say my doctor didn't treatment the mental illness suggest maybe I can to eat medicine from psychologist. Ultimately they ask me the name, phone number and address, but I say I can’t tell them and that is alright.
In this interview experiment. They use a way that is one by one step to ask the person what happen on them and what kind of help they need now. They talking way also is slowly and tender even some part can’t show clearly that also can repeat the sentence. They show me the way that I really to advisory the psychiatrist's assistant and ask them for help. So we see there is an organization there that can help with our mental health issues such as depression.
Need to Improve Education and Communication on Mental Health
The importance of educating about mental health is that it will help people develop their feelings and think about more what actions could they do when they are facing a rough time in their life, also help others see if in their surroundings are going through something and how they can help. Even though schools have a counselor, however, Does everyone in the school knows who and where they are?
In a survey taken by senior students, one third of the students claim to know who are some of the counselor at school. In addition, 50% of senior students haven’t went to a school counselor, and 58.1% of students claim to know some information about about mental health.
Lu Zeng, One of the FIHS counselors
“Providing mental health support it can not be only in counseling office, your senior institute teacher they run advisory to talk about some topic related to social emotional” express by Lu Zeng FIHS counselor, which also thinks school needs to be more active with their students and let them know there is a safe place for them to express how they feel. In New York state, on July 1, 2018, a law requires public schools to give education about mental health. Which makes New York the first state in the United States which requires Mental health education in public schools.
This is not just a problem in High School, mental health issues also affect college students. In a round table interview of 6 graduates of FIHS, who are now in their first year of college found that the college never having a class or instructions about mental health, and some of them even tell that the counselor on their college are not helpful, claiming there is only 1 and 2 counselors in their college when their might be a lot of students needing to go to them. However, not only school needs to be the one educating students about how to deal with mental issues. “Social emotional it can be a taboo in many cultures, Like in China, Latin America culture, many families they are not willing to talk about feelings or their families challenge.” claim the school counselor Lu Zeng from FIHS.
Educating young people and their families about mental health is an important fact that will help them through a rough time and is where it needs to be improved because there are still people not knowing the difference between feeling sad and suffering from depression. For our investigation interviewed from Surya who is studying Senior Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College, she said: “ Even have 8 counselling that is also not enough, also have many college students need to go outside of school and pay for treatment of their mental health, a lot of students don’t have that much money so they can’t ask for help on mental health.” Many people don’t understand the mental health treatment how is that going and need medicine or not they don’t know anything. People also lack to understand mental health laws.
Sufferers of mental health problems don’t know how to protect themselves. They always be injured then know they should protect themselves but in that time is too late. People need to understand more about mental health laws, also need to make more laws to protect the people. Such as a law in Salem, Oregon, allow students to take “mental health day” for excused school as what sicks days does, experts say it is one of the first state law allow students to have up to five absences excused in a 3 month period.
Overall, teens mental health problems can be caused by many reasons, school, family, friends, etc., and they are different for each person. And it affects our thinking, feeling, and acting. While stopping children and teens from becoming sad and depressed may be impossible, helping them handle their feelings and recovering certainly is not.
Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood or teenager through adulthood. Teen’s mental health issues need more support, and also need more education on the mental health in order to reduce mental health issues from teeneager.
Our group talked with the student who is studying psychology in college, we have discussed about the possible solution about the mental health problem, Yichen Hu answered: “Whenever the easiest thing to do is to talk to someone, like in society now it is, it's really accessible like whenever you have something, you thought that I'm not interested in this thing that I used to be interested in, and you see this change you could just go talk to someone.”
Overall, today in New York City public schools, 73,000 students declare feeling sad, without hope. Everyone should recognize that teen’s mental health is a serious issue which need to pay extra attention to resolve the problems. It is related to everyone. If someone you know might be having issues, you can help them seek help or be a listener, just stay beside he/she. If we came together, then we can reduce the teen’s depression.