I have always found Mental Illness’ to be of higher relevance than physical issues, because they are very difficult to diagnose and battle. It was quite interesting to sit down with a group of people and deliberators, discussing an issue that lacks controversy, yet can be so open to interpretation and analysis. The deliberation began with a generalized description of what is considered to, in accordance to psychologists, the general symptoms of such illnesses. The members of the team managed to create an incredible rapport with the audience, as they began by asking the audience about their general expectations from this deliberation. Their idea was to focus on three primary aspects- enhancing education, accessibility to treatment and affordability of treatment, thus establishing their three approaches. The members were considerate enough to keep their information very straightforward and fathomable by a regular person, also constantly relating it to resources available in Penn state.
Approach 1 focused on how we could try to increase awareness in our community and come up with ways to battle the crisis, by erasing the stigma attached to the sickness. Not only to eradicate pre-conceived ideas, but also, impart knowledge on how to recognize plausible signs of depression and manners in which it should be approached, the words and style of language which must be utilized. Approach 2 discussed on how treatment could be more accessible to patients and we came up with suggestions such as video call therapy or how universities can promote efficient programs, with professional psychologists. They also provided us with numbers to contact and resources that could be handy, in case we ever came across someone in need of it. The 3rd approach was of quite relevance to most of us, since it pertained to affordability of treatment; whether or not it should be covered by insurance, promotion of group therapy etc.
What I found most intriguing about the deliberation was the manner in which they approached the audience, by dividing them into smaller groups. This was their way of being ‘up-close and personal’, so that people would be more comfortable sharing their thoughts and ideas, without worrying about facing embarrassment due to lack of credibility. Each approach was introduced to each table and the discussions were quite fruitful. They were keen on listening to our suggestions, making sure to note down and appreciate all our input. Not only that, they articulately answered any queries that we had regarding the issue, offering suggestions that were close to home. They weren’t focused on trying to get their message through, but to get our opinions and ideas mediated to everyone else. I think it was excellent for them to limit themselves to mental health issues among teenagers, specifically, because it made the concept easier to break down and to come up with ways to battle the issue. I believe that this is an issue which is relevant to all of us, since we all could be educated on how to deal with such a delicate situation.