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One in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 has a diagnosable mental illness

Posted by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:24 AM
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Facebook page exposes mental health issues

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POSTED: THURSDAY, MARCH 21, 2013 3:50 PM | UPDATED: 7:53 PM, THU MAR 21, 2013.

With the sudden explosion in popularity of Tulane Facebook pages, it is nearly impossible to find someone who hasn’t heard of Tulane Confessions, a page that has posted 1,300 anonymous submissions since Feb. 18. With veracity that is dubious at best, the page features anything from crude statements to uplifting anecdotes and is relatively harmless. The appeal is understandable — Tulane Confessions is as addicting as it is voyeuristic.

As the page has grown, however, it has morphed into a forum for students to unburden themselves of weighty issues that beg the Tulane community’s attention.

“My eating disorder is slowly killing me,” one anonymous user wrote. “But nobody will listen or care cuz im [sic] barely below weight and look normal.”

“I recently lost [around] 20 lbs using Adderall to fuel my workouts and suppress my appetite,” another submitter wrote. “I’m only about 5 lbs from being underweight for my height but I’m terrified of gaining weight so I won’t stop taking it. I’m afraid because I don’t know if I will be able to stop on my own, but honestly being thin is much more important.”

One in four young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 has a diagnosable mental illness, according to the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Administration. But no one’s talking about it. Instead, people flock to the internet to seek help, and consequently, Tulane Confessions has drawn to the surface a largely invisible issue to the forefront of campus concerns — perhaps by the nature of its anonymous system. Despite its prevalence, mental illness remains unacknowledged, misunderstood and stigmatized.

This stigma manifests itself in a community that neither encourages nor advocates for mental illness education. Tulane Confessions has made it clear that students need more space on campus to voice their concerns or relate to each other about mental struggles.

“I found out my roommate last year was depressed when I saw her medication on her desk,” one user wrote. “I never did anything, never said anything, because I didn’t know how.”

It may seem difficult to understand why friends would dismiss each other’s issues, but without open discourse about rampant depression and anxiety exacerbated by the increased stress levels of a university setting, friends like this may not know better. Their dismissal roots itself not in cruelty, but in ignorance.

While the inherent anonymity of Tulane Confessions prevents knowing with certainty that its content is honest, the similar theme of many submissions seems to illuminate the demand for better mental health services on campus. Many of the estimated 2,000 students with a form of mental disorder undoubtedly receive treatment at Tulane. No one should feel like their friends don’t care about them.

Social support received after proper psychological treatment is the most effective means of a good prognosis. And it’s easy to be a good peer supporter. While Counseling and Psychological Services, Sexual Aggression Peer Hotline & Education and the Suicide Hotline are all available campus resources, talking to friends when concerns arise may be the lifesaver.

In perhaps the most touching of interactions on Tulane Confessions, one submitter wrote, “I have trichotillomania (an impulse control disorder characterized by the urge to pull out one’s hair) but I’m too scared to tell anyone because I’ll be labeled as a weirdo.”

An outpouring of support met the submission. Many shared that they shared the disorder and wanted to form a support group.

“I TOO have trichotillomania!” a user wrote. “I would love to get a support group going for Tulane, but I’m too scared to comment on the trich posts because I’m so embarrassed about it. I got all excited when I saw the posts. It’s wonderful to know I’m not alone.”

“Thank you!” the original submitter replied. “I honestly thought I was just gross and weird.”

Mental illness is more common than people think. While Tulane Confessions may provoke frustration and skepticism, it has illuminated a very important issue on campus. With these pages and support groups like the new organization on campus, The National Alliance on Mental Illness, we can work to eliminate barriers to discussion and make Tulane a safe space.

by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:24 AM
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Replies (1-10):
kailu1835
by Ruby Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:55 AM
3 moms liked this

1 in 4?  Maybe.  But only because EVERYTHING is labled a disorder now.

TranquilMind
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:57 AM

WHY?  That's the question here.  What are we doing wrong in this society to suddenly have all this mental illness in young people. In my Mom's generation, this was totally unknown. 

They weren't routinely poisoned with chemicals and drugs from a young age.  I think that is one factor. 

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Mar. 22, 2013 at 12:59 AM

Depression is counted in the US #s- obviously that dx drives the number up.

Goodwoman614
by Satan on Mar. 22, 2013 at 1:40 AM
2 moms liked this

Guns. Everybody should have guns.

mommajen32
by Platinum Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 1:59 AM
3 moms liked this

I run a program for teenagers and I completely believe this. I've shared this with our youth workers and pastor. I've had 2 of my kids hospitalized repeatedly for suicide attempts. Cutting is a huge issue with my group (35 consistent, 60+ total). The issues my kids are dealing with at home are severe - drugs, alcohol, domestic abuse, etc... They are trying to navigate impossible situations at a very young age (5th - 12th grade). They are very high need and so many of them need serious help. I used to also think it was a matter of labeling normal sadness as drugging for depression but I'll say with at least my little group the problems are much, much deeper. Sad. Very. 

In my opinion the lack of support systems contribute largely to the problem. We are meant to live in community and the isolation isn't natural, there are consequences to our change in culture. 

LindaClement
by Thatwoman on Mar. 22, 2013 at 2:20 AM

I don't think we can continue to 'raise' our children the 'normal' way --which is really far less than 40 years old -- with any credibility at all.

Something about the 'normal' way of handling children is obviously very, very wrong.

muslimahpj
by Ruby Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 2:23 AM
3 moms liked this

Mental illness is also genetics. I think as our society becomes more accepting of mental illness, the more people wont be afraid to speak out and seek help.

btamilee
by Silver Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 6:32 AM

These figures do not surprise me.  When my teenage daughter did the research for the screenplay she was writing about teenage anxiety and depression, she had many meeting with a local mental health hospital (they actually ended up becoming a co sponsof the film).  She was given figures of 1 in 4 teens suffer from some form of anxiety and/or depression.  One of the leaders from the hospital made it a point to be on set at all times to make sure that the information was all accurate.  Although my 17 year old daughter has suffered with both anxiety and depression for years, we both learned a great deal about mental health issues during the year it took her to write/film/edit  the film.  She then became involved with touring local schools all over our state  to not only show the film, but along with representatives from the hospital do question and answer sessions.  I think most parents have no idea how prevalent these issues are within the young community.  The feedback from this all has been amazing...and eye opening! 

btamilee
by Silver Member on Mar. 22, 2013 at 6:38 AM
1 mom liked this

 Cutting and self harm is a huge issue within our community.  My daughter is writing a screenplay now that is geared toward helping teens who have issues with self harm.  She co wrote a public service announcement that is shown on our local CBS affiliate that deals with self harm.  The response has been great, although we do hear from some.....who continue to believe that is is not happening in their communities, and how we are exploiting it.  Very sad....I know it is happening every single day.


Quoting mommajen32:

I run a program for teenagers and I completely believe this. I've shared this with our youth workers and pastor. I've had 2 of my kids hospitalized repeatedly for suicide attempts. Cutting is a huge issue with my group (35 consistent, 60+ total). The issues my kids are dealing with at home are severe - drugs, alcohol, domestic abuse, etc... They are trying to navigate impossible situations at a very young age (5th - 12th grade). They are very high need and so many of them need serious help. I used to also think it was a matter of labeling normal sadness as drugging for depression but I'll say with at least my little group the problems are much, much deeper. Sad. Very. 

In my opinion the lack of support systems contribute largely to the problem. We are meant to live in community and the isolation isn't natural, there are consequences to our change in culture. 


 

oscarsmom70
by on Mar. 22, 2013 at 6:04 PM

How inspiring to hear what your daughter is doing with her screenplay and PSA!!  Self-harm is a very real issue facing our society today.  "Inside a Cutter's Mind" - a book by Jerusha Clark and Dr. Earl Henslin - gave me a lot of insight when my oldest boy came home telling me about his girl friend and her cutting.  Very scary to me in that moment and grateful for books and friends to support me through it.  Blessings on your daughter as she forges the way to creating more awareness.

Quoting btamilee:

 Cutting and self harm is a huge issue within our community.  My daughter is writing a screenplay now that is geared toward helping teens who have issues with self harm.  She co wrote a public service announcement that is shown on our local CBS affiliate that deals with self harm.  The response has been great, although we do hear from some.....who continue to believe that is is not happening in their communities, and how we are exploiting it.  Very sad....I know it is happening every single day.


Quoting mommajen32:

I run a program for teenagers and I completely believe this. I've shared this with our youth workers and pastor. I've had 2 of my kids hospitalized repeatedly for suicide attempts. Cutting is a huge issue with my group (35 consistent, 60+ total). The issues my kids are dealing with at home are severe - drugs, alcohol, domestic abuse, etc... They are trying to navigate impossible situations at a very young age (5th - 12th grade). They are very high need and so many of them need serious help. I used to also think it was a matter of labeling normal sadness as drugging for depression but I'll say with at least my little group the problems are much, much deeper. Sad. Very. 

In my opinion the lack of support systems contribute largely to the problem. We are meant to live in community and the isolation isn't natural, there are consequences to our change in culture. 





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