During the first five weeks of class, I have learned a great deal about different aspects of mental health. In the first couple of classes we covered how nature vs. nurture plays into depression. It is important to understand that yes, there is a genetic factor when it comes to being depressed, because it causes an imbalance of certain chemicals in your brain. However, I think that those traits are enhanced or reduced based on the environment the person is in. When I say environment I am talking about the people they are around, the weather (seasonal depression), how happy they are with their life style, etc. So many different things play into depression, it is hard to really pinpoint what sole factor caused it in the first place. We talked about the different studies that were done to prove that genetics plays a role in mental health, such as the one about the twins and how fraternal twins differ from identical twins. All these studies end up concluding the same thing, yes there is a correlation between genetics and depression, but it is not yet known to what degree.
Keye’s model shows that happiness or the lack there of, is not black and white, but instead it is on a spectrum. No one person is 100% happy and deals with no sadness or depression and same vise versa, no one is 100% unhappy.
Dr.Sood, gave us a very knowledgeable presentation about depression and different mood states. She emphasized how depression usually starts at an early age and its harder to detect due to that.She also talked about the different risk factors that contribute to depression such as being lonely, lack of social support, having history of depression in your family and substance abuse. One of the parts that really interested me was the science behind depression and how different neurotransmitters are inflamed when someone is depressed. My favorite part of her talk was how it is hard to get treatment or ask for help, and how medication is so looked down upon for mental health. I personally am trying to get tested for ADHD and after doing my research I came to two unfortunate conclusions-
1. mental health treatment is EXPENSIVE
2. insurance covers barely any of the expenses
And to me that was very discouraging because it is already so hard to build the courage to ask for help but if it is going to cost so much then in a way it’s telling people to not get the help.
I also have gone to mental health counseling a handful amount of times and it has really helped my mental health but I am a senior and I was thinking about how after I graduate, these resources will no longer be offered to me and having to pay for counseling is a huge burden so I am trying to find other ways to keep my mental health in check for after I graduate.
The most recent topic covered in class was the introduction to positive psychology where we focused on the PERMA model. PERMA stands for Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishments. Essentially all of these traits are necessary for someone to have a positive mindset. Personally I think the one most relevant to me is accomplishments because whenever I am in a bad mindset I remind myself of all of the things I have accomplished and that helps me get out of the bad rut. But we also focused on traits that help us deal with anxiety and depression and it came out out to be that my top trait is courage. I think that this is pretty accurate because whenever I feel like I am about to hit another wave of depression, I always make sure to go to counseling as soon as possible, because I refuse to let this disease impact my life. When I was first dealing with it and I had no idea what was going on with me, I really tired to figure it all out and never did I feel like I couldn’t ask for help because of the stigma around mental health. But I must add that I had a lot of friends who understood what I was going through and that really helped me get through it all. Something that stood out to me was that judgement is one of my weakest qualities. I really feel that this is something I want to work on. I am the type of person that does not really think things through and I kind of just jump into things and sometimes that really has a toll on my emotions so my newest goal is to think before I act.