The other day as part of our week long teacher training we had a session with the new school counselor….It was a very interesting presentation and by far the best we had this week.
One interesting point that came up in a video we saw was that mental illness issues such as eating disorders, self-harming behaviors etc. are believe to be underreported in the UK.
This led me to ask the opposite question….Might the inverse be also true especially in America where I am from?
There is a tendency these days to diagnose everything….I believe the powerpoint presentation we saw called it “Overpatholigization”,
If a student can’t sit still in class well he must have ADD….If he is having trouble reading he must be dyslexic….If student is either too fat or too skinny, they must have a eating disorder rather than not eating properly or eating too much due to laziness and other self discipline factors.
The truth is I think real cases, that is people who have serious mental problems, are fairly rare….I think what is happening students who have issues with family, school, bullying etc. are introduced to discussions of these behaviors by well-meaning school authorities and by popular culture and see it as a way to get attention and so they start acting out these behaviors.
I don’t think a lot of these students would do these behaviors if they didn’t hear about them first.
Once again, I think Hollywood is partly to blame….It’s hip in tinseltown to have mental problems and talk about them ad nauseam….The recent case of Mischa Barton ( who I must admit I had never heard of prior this story) is a good example…. http://beat.bodoglife.com/entertainment/mischa-barton-5150-hold-because-of-toothache-83289.html
Now I had all four wisdom teeth pulled at once….It wasn’t a big deal and I was back at work the next day….Of course, I wasn’t a pampered Hollywood star.
Let me also say I do believe in mental illness (unlike the kooky Scientologists)….Conditions like Schizophrenia are physical conditions where the brain has an actual problem that can only be corrected through medication….I think these types of conditions are every rare among teenagers