April 25, 2012

Social commentary 2// Implementing mental health classes in secondary schools

I’ve uploaded the powerpoint I used for my presentation at TEDxWarwick: Home Grown Ideas session from the 30th of January 2012. It is similar to my article from social commentary 1, but with more details on the design and implementation of such mental health classes. The home grown ideas session was a presentation/public speaking competition; I got second place of 5 speakers which was cool :). I’ll upload my talk notes alongside soon.


My Researcher Profile

Name: Jordan Quinn

Department: Psychology

Project Department: Institute of Digital Healthcare, WMG

Supervisor: Dr. Kevin Yap

Why does your URSS project interest you?

The project is about the impact of social media on improving healthcare of chronic diseases in ethnic minorities. What interests me, on a basic level, is the health aspect, being able to work on a project which can be applied to the medical field. On an academic level, I'm looking forward to its interdisciplinary aspect of the project, being the overlap between pharmaco-informatics, medicine and to an extent psychology. Furthermore, it gives me the opportunity to gain knowledge in a field outside of my undergraduate course in psychology.

What are you hoping to achieve through your URSS project?

Ideally, it would be brilliant to be able to make a respectable contribution to our understanding of social media & healthcare by publishing a paper (you never know, it could happen!) in an up-and-coming field. I hope to develop a good work ethic and discipline appropriateto academic research, which I could then carry on through the rest of my undergraduate degree. It would also be great to have a good understanding of being a researcher before starting postgraduate studies.

What new skills are you hoping to develop?

I'd like to develop a good work ethic in academic rigour in my work, extending to being comfortable in synthesising a mass of relevant articles and good time management. It would be great to improve my academic writing to potentially publishing standard. A good overall knowledge of pharmaco-informatics would give me great knowledge and skills to draw on in undergraduate work.

What contribution to knowledge could your URSS project make?

-Outline the positives & negatives of social media's impact on drug-related problems; studying the effectiveness of technological internet "accessories" as a support platform for disease treatments.

- Highlight the cultural differences and takes of various ethnicities with regards to social media, and inherently in the overlap between social media and healthcare.


Social commentary 1 // Teen suicide & an inefficient education system

First post! I figured I would start with an article I wrote up, hopefully the boar will put it in their next print but we’ll see how it goes. Have a read, and let me know what you think.

Teen suicide- Why doesn’t curricular education acknowledge it?

When people you know pass away, it’s tough to say the least. When you find out that a friend decided to take
their own life, it’s not something you get over quickly. You question everything about your life and how you view the world.
You’re angry about having not realised what was going on in that person’s life, and how you didn’t pick up on the signs.
In the midst of the utter mess my mind was in following my friend’s suicide, I came to the realisation that I was never actually
taught anything about mental health in school. I don’t mean learning about various theories in psychology class, but what it means
to be depressed, what it means to have your mental health compromised, and how to deal with suicide.

As it stands, there are currently no mental health classes in the national curriculum for secondary schools. None. There are charities doing some fantastic work in schools educating students through workshops, but in terms of all the students in the UK, only a handful are getting any sort of information about mental health. Here are some statistics that highlight the major issue at hand.

1 in 4 people develop mental health issues.

The third leading cause of death in 15-25 year olds is suicide.

The fourth leading cause of death in 10-14 year olds is suicide.

In 2009, there was a total of 5675 registered suicides in the UK.

1722 of those suicides recorded were teens.

90% of teens who committed suicide had a diagnosable condition. (1997-2003)

Only 14% of teens who committed suicide were in touch with mental health services.

It’s shocking stuff. There is a clear flaw in our current educational system, which for some reason decided mental health isn’t worth being taught. This decision has had clear consequences for the general population and is ultimately ignoring those in need and further marginalising them. It makes no sense that the government and its associated department for education have failed to see that the mental health in the country’s youth is not some silly matter about creating english baccalaureates, or “A” grades being the be all and all in an individual’s future: this is about saving lives; I cannot stress this point enough. The physical and mental wellbeing of the people, both young and old, should be the priority- and with more and more pressures being heaped on teens, the need for mental health classes and a more efficient educational system grows stronger and more apparent.

If we’re taught about the importance of mental health from a young age, we’re better equipped to deal with such problems if they arise later in life- whether it’s recognising it in ourselves, or understanding it in others. Introducing regular, interactive mental health classes would be benificial to everyone; it would help remove the stigma around mental health by promoting understanding and acceptance of such conditions. It would also facilitate direct communication of resources available that students wouldn’t otherwise know about, and give teens the tools to indentify what they’re feeling. Skills and knowledge acquired through such classes are essential tools for coping with life, which can be carried into adulthood. Ultimately, it is about creating both a “grassroots” support infrastructure within the educational system that can develop into a nation-wide environment where people struggling with mental issues can actually get better, and not have to feel that suicide is the only way out.

It’s time that mental health is no longer relegated by default to drug prescriptions and ignorance; proactive measures need to be taken in curricular education to tackle the truth: not enough is being done to support those with mental health problems, and not enough is being done to prevent suicide.


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