Increase Mental Health Resources in Florida Schools

Increase Mental Health Resources in Florida Schools

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Yasmin Vianna started this petition to Senator Marco Rubio and

To whoever is concerned,

My name is Yasmin Vianna. I am a junior at Freedom High School in Orlando and am writing about a topic that I am extremely passionate about. I think that schools in Florida should give students more access to mental health resources and pay more attention to this subject. Although my school has provided a SAFE office for students to take “mental breaks” in during the day, I don’t think this is nearly enough to make up for the staggering statistics of students with mental health issues. 1 in 3 students, in accordance to Psychology Today, report feeling depressed for long periods of time. 50% don’t receive education on mental health prior to college. 30% report issues at school or work due to these issues. While I am happy to see the improvements that recent years have brought on mental health education, I think that our community still has a lot of work to do. 

Bullying is still prevalent in schools. I do not think teaching bullies to not bully is an effective way of handling this. I think teaching students to cope with their emotions after being bullied is a way better method for ending this problem. It will also lead bullies with emotional problems to stop repressing their troubling feelings and projecting them onto innocent students. Mental disorders such as depression have devastating effects on students’ motivation. I went from being a straight A student during my freshmen and early sophomore year of high school to doing drastically worse academically when I was diagnosed with depression. Due to the resources I had at school, I was able to overcome this and am proud to be back on track. I am not using my story as an excuse. Instead I am using it as a way to gain awareness and help make a change. I was able to be helped with the few resources I had access to. Imagine the impact of more resources on students all over Florida! Not only were my grades affected, but the pressures to do well in school by the school system worsened my health because I was disappointed in myself for not doing well enough. Advanced Placement classes, which are proven to be more rigorous than regular college classes, are pushed onto students. Hours of homework and studying are necessary to excel in these courses, yet all these hours devoted to excessively difficult classes have terrible effects on students’ stress levels. To get into the best colleges, you are taught from a young age to take the hardest classes. You are in constant competition with your peers and comparing your progress to theirs. What youngsters should really be taught is time management, the importance of partaking in enjoyable activities to stimulate the release of “happy” hormones, and ways of coping. At this day and age, it’s easier for people to talk about school shootings than it is for them to mention the cliche topic of suicides caused by depression. Please help me change this. 

I am only a student. However, while I may not be the most knowledgeable on politics, I know of kids my age who purposefully harm themselves because they aren’t doing well in school. I know teens who have attempted suicide. I know the names of people who could not cope with the bullying they endured.

For these reasons, I propose SAFE offices in every school, in every county, as a way for students to reach out for help. I propose mandatory mental health tests to be given to students just as often as physical checks. Students with ADHD, anxiety, and other difficult issues should have resources to help them be successful provided by the school system. How can we expect parents who were not educated on these topics to be the voice for this generation? How can we expect them to always get help for students? I know all of this is easier said than done, but I am certain it will help schools in improving their test scores and grades because of healthier students. We must teach youngsters that feeling depressed is not normal, how to identify symptoms, and how to get help. 

I truly hope that Florida senators take this into consideration. I am hoping for a change that will positively influence the future of millions of kids. Let Florida be an example for every other state. 

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