Blog Post #8
The topic of depression and suicide can be very controversial. Many people believe that depression and suicide are serious problems, but others do not believe that depression is a real illness; instead they view it as a sign of weakness. A depression awareness and suicide prevention program would help to teach those individuals who do not understand depression and do not believe that it is a real problem that it is in fact real and affects many people. A depression awareness and suicide prevention program is needed in Virginia pubic high schools, but cannot happen as long as there is resistance to the program, as well as depression itself.
One of the strongest points of resistance that the implementation of a required awareness and prevention program would run into would be resistance from parents who are not educated in the subject themselves. An awareness and prevention program would be implemented through health classes that each student attends. Parents who do not believe that depression is a serious or real problem might be opposed to their student participating in the program and think of it as a waste of time. These parents could then write to or petition the school board to try and shut the program down. This particular problem is one that continues with generations. Parents do not believe that depression is a real problem and do not receive education on it, such as the aforementioned program, so their opinions are never changed. They then go on to teach their children the same beliefs that they have about depression and as long as there continues to be a lack of education in the area the cycle will continue. This program could solve the problem but will never get a chance if the opposition from parents is too strong.
Aside from the resistance by parents, the next level of resistance will most likely be institutional. The institutional resistance may come from health teachers or from policy makers. Health teachers may be resistant because they would have to add more to their curriculum and teach more in the same amount of time they were allotted before. They would also have to teach a subject that can be a pretty sensitive for some students, which might make the teachers uncomfortable. Policy makers might be resistant because they would have to design and implement the program and make sure that it is working properly and being taught properly. They might also be concerned because they do not want to be held liable if they implement an awareness and prevention program and then something bad happens to a student anyway. In this case a parent could get upset and blame them for making the program and teaching it to students but it not being affective because of what happened to their student. The final aspect of institutional resistance might be resistance concerning money. Although this program would not require a large amount of money because it is not a physical project such as constructing a new building, it would require some money in order to pay the person who designs the program and to provide any materials (such as new books) to schools. Some people may feel as though this money could be better spent elsewhere or go towards a bigger project.
Although there are several types of resistance facing this project it is still worth considering. This resistance can be combatted and an effective program can be put in place that will help students to better understand depression and suicide, and hopefully lower suicide rates in Virginia public high schools.