The Underlying Effects of School on Teens
This project is a requirement of the GOA Abnormal Psychology Course. Using the process of design thinking, a challenge in the world of mental health was identified, interviews and research were undertaken, and a solution prototype was developed. Below you will find information about the identified area of concern and my proposed solution. Please feel free to provide feedback on this prototype, using questions such as “How might we…”, “What if….?”, “I wonder….”, “I like…”, and “I wish.” Keep the comments positive, please. For more information on the process of Design Thinking, click here.
The main reason I wanted to explore high school’s effects on teenagers was because of the extensive personal connection I have, being a student while also being a worker outside of school. I wanted to focus on my school in particular because there are very few conversations and even less action in the world of mental health for students because of the stigma that surrounds the term, as well as the role that it plays in a student’s daily life. Seen from the infographic which I created with the help of a classmate, suicide, an extreme on the mental health spectrum is fairly prevalent in the life of a student. Because of this prevalence, I wanted to open that conversation up by trying to eliminate said stigma from the community at Menlo.
Identification of the challenge did take some time, and I identified it by asking several students as well as teachers to see how much was known in general about an average Menlo student’s mental health. I also received insight from the counselor at Menlo, who was an extremely important source of help as she knew the ins and outs of how Menlo goes about the topic. Through many people’s help, the challenge in itself became to destigmatize the topic of mental health at Menlo in order to educate the community and hopefully keep people safe. The user is everybody in the community, but it is heavily focused on students. They are struggling because the topic in itself is heavily stigmatized and seen as a sign of weakness, as Menlo takes pride in being an academically rigorous school that also focuses heavily on the arts as well as sports, encompassing almost all of a student’s time. This heavy weight that Menlo puts on a student’s shoulders is a fundamental source of stress, anxiety, and even depression in students, because of the extremely high standard that is held at the school. Since this standard exists, the topics of mental health cannot really be brought into a positive light because they can be seen as “excuses” or “shortcuts”, generating the stigma it currently has in the community.
I would now like to take a moment to ask for your help as an audience. All sorts of feedback or questions are welcome. The absolute best way to provide feedback is through Design Thinking, which incorporates statements and questions that begin with “What if….? How might we….? I wonder…..?”.
Possible methods to implement these solutions are as follows.
Talking to the Administration with previous approval from the counselor
Talking to the “Student Life” department (which sets up assemblies)
Finding teachers or students to help spread the word of these solutions so that they could be set up in classes.
A poll has already been taken from a select number of students from all four grades, the results are as follows.
With this data, I hope to present the movement to the administration and hopefully impliment some if not all of these solutions into the school’s curriculum.
To help move the process forward, so that it can incorporate more communities rather than just Menlo, I wholeheartedly plead for anybody whose community is one that stigmatizes Mental Health to acknowledge said stigma and try to eliminate it if it is possible.
(A powerpoint made by myself to better condense my proposed solutions.)