Mental Health On College Campus

Mental health on college campuses has been a well known widespread issue for many years now. Even on the UD campus there are many flyers and posters spread about various locations with information on how to receive counseling as well as numbers for hotlines. Student Health Services houses counselors that students can visit to receive help if they feel that they are not well mentally.

College campuses are a virtual breeding ground for mental health illnesses, as the transition away from home to living independently on a college campus can be extremely hard for many incoming students. Additionally, students must learn to deal with the stress of schoolwork, loans, jobs, relationships, and the stress of living in such close proximity to so many of their peers. Altogether college is a very difficult period in many students lives which is why we see the prevalence of mental disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder in so many college students.

According to statistics provided by the Chadron State College 1 in 4 college students have a diagnosable mental illness. However, much less than this amount of students are ever actually diagnosed because many campuses fail to provide the proper support. Student’s often feel unsure of how they can receive help or do not feel comfortable using the resources available to them. Unfortunately, lack of help to those who need it can sometimes lead to suicide in student populations. One of the reasons mental health on college campuses has been focused on by the media so often in recent years is because of the number of suicides that have occurred at high profile universities. For example, the suicide of the star UPenn runner who ran off the roof of a parking garage on campus.

There are multiple ways that we can raise awareness and help improve the and lower the instances of mental illness and suicide on college campuses. Some of these include lowering the stigma around mental illness. The way that issues such as depression and bipolar disorder are portrayed in movies and tv shows vary extremely from the realities that many students face on an everyday basis. Educating the student body would help provide an environment more conducive to helping those in need.

 

Team Core4 – Legalizing Marijuana

The legalization of marijuana in the United States is a controversial issue. Most people tend to have a definite opinion as to whether states, or even the federal government, should legalize the drug. Many people have good reason to believe we should continue along the path of legalization, and here are a few reasons why.

Fewer arrests for nonviolent crimes.

Fewer people in prison for nonviolent crimes

  • According to the ACLU, there were 8.2 million arrests between 2001-2010 that were related to weed
  • Possession accounted for 88% of these arrests
  • The data also revealed “significant racial bias,” with black people being 3.73 times “more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana.” In some states, this statistic rises to be 7.5 or even 8.5 times more likely.
  • $3,613,969,972 is spent by states every year to enforce weed-related legislation

8.2 million arrests. That means paperwork had to be done for 8.2 million arrests, time had to be spent on all of these incidents, money was spent on lawyers, and people were taken away from their lives to serve on juries. Imagine if these 8.2 million marijuana-related arrests did not occur. Imagine how police resources could have been better focused. All of this time, money, and energy could have been channeled toward arresting violent and dangerous criminals: rapists, kidnappers, armed robbers.

Additionally, even if all of these people did not receive prison time, a large amount of money is spent to keep these people in prison for nonviolent crimes. In New York City, the average cost of a single prisoner per year is $167,731. Say half of those arrested for marijuana infractions were sentenced to at least one year in prison. Using the NYC cost of a prisoner, this equates to $687,697,100,000 spent in just one year for these people to be in prison – again, for a nonviolent crime. Imagine if we spent this much less on prisons every year. This money could be channeled towards something that actually benefits the majority of citizens, such as improving infrastructure. Or, maybe, some of it could be used for prison reform. Prisons could become more like those in other countries, where prisoners are taught life skills and are rehabilitated, so that they don’t wind up back in a prison when they are finally released. There are so many ways that money could benefit the country, and keeping people in prison for marijuana is not one of them.

Safety.

Nonviolent drug

Most commonly, marijuana has a relaxing effect on users. It doesn’t hype people up the same way other substances do, such as alcohol. Many have heard, seen, or been a part of drunken fights, but violence induced by marijuana is a very rare occurrence. When it does occur, it is because of some type of fear or paranoia that causes a sudden rush. Apart from this, there has been no direct causation established between marijuana use and violence.

Knowing what you buy

If it is sold from a legitimate dispensary, there’s less of a chance of it being laced with something dangerous, such as harder drugs. Lacing is a technique that can be used by dealers to get weed-smokers addicted to harder drugs without them even knowing. This is clearly dangerous, and is something that can be controlled better by legalizing weed and selling it from a dispensary.

Just like everything else that is sold, there would have to be labels indicating what strain it is, maybe what the common side effects of using that strain are, the %THC, and other information that will make it safer to buy from a dispensary than on the streets.

Overdosing

Weed also is not a drug from which one can overdose. There are no recorded deaths from a marijuana overdose. According to the National Cancer Institute, it isn’t even possible to overdose on weed because marijuana affects pathways in the boy called “cannaboid receptors,” which do not affect breathing. Therefore, no matter how much one ingests, marijuana cannot cause someone to stop breathing.

Other statistics show that someone would have to ingest about 40,000 times the amount of marijuana that is typically consumed in order to die. While one can take too much of it, overdosing is not a possibility.

 

In addition to these, there are many other reasons behind legalizing weed. This includes the fact that weed can be taxed if it is legally sold, and the tax revenue can be used to help communities. For example, the money collected from taxing weed can be used to improve schools – new textbooks, new computers, fixing health concerns in the school, and many other issues can be addressed if schools had more money; this is one way to find more money for schools. There are also medicinal purposes behind using marijuana, such as a sleep-aid, an anxiety relief substance, and it even has uses in treating more serious conditions, such as Crohn’s disease.

 

 

 

The Tiny House Movement: Team 1

The size of the average American house has risen steadily over the past few decades while the size of families has decreased. Homes are over 2,600 square feet and are occupied by, on average, 2 and a half people. Why have houses continued to grow as fewer people live in them? This trend is caused by desires to own more, to have more impressive things, and to have more stuff. However, most people can’t afford these extraneous things and the average American sinks half of their income into their own home.

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But as the number of “McMansions” increases, a new trend has emerged to combat their rise. Tiny Homes. These are generally any permanent residences under 400 square feet, though many are much smaller. There are many reasons people opt to live smaller, though there are four main reasons. People want a more sustainable way to live, to reduce their carbon footprint, and to consume less. Second, people want to have the financial freedom that a $30,000 house affords. People want to be able to travel more and to experience more of the world and not feel rooted to the foundation of an environmental blight. In fact, some are so determined to be free they build their tiny homes on trailers to be as mobile as possible. Lastly, tiny houses allow for “purposeful and determined living” which is, part of the art and beauty of minimalism. If you only have 150 square feet to live in, it forces you to question all of your possessions and what you really need. Why do you need 30 different t-shirts? Do you really need 20 pairs of shoes? Couldn’t you survive without a washing machine, dryer, oven, and dishwasher?

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In fact, many people opt to build their own Tiny Houses from scratch, using their own designs and making their own choices about what is essential for their living situation. This generally includes solar panels, composting toilets, and campfire stoves, all of which encourage and are components of sustainable living. Because of the multifaceted benefits of tiny homes (financial independence, sustainable living, and freedom from stress and superfluous material possessions) I believe that this is an important movement pertinent to young adults.

 

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Newark’s Hidden Homeless: Team Amigas

Homelessness is a condition that affects nearly 600,000 individuals in America today. You are probably aware that homelessness is a very serious issue in our nation. But did you also know how prevalent homelessness is in our city of Newark, Delaware? Imagine the men, women and children sitting and standing on the sidewalks of Main St. looking for some spare change to help them get by. Is this a familiar image? It is for me. Almost every time I walk on Main St. I see an individual experiencing homelessness and seeking help. In Newark, there are an estimated 50 homeless individuals, and the number is thought to be on the rise.

So why should we care? Homelessness deprives individuals of the basic right to have security and a permanent roof over their heads. It takes the control that individuals have over their surroundings away from them — whether that means living in the street, in transitional housing, shelters, etc. Once individuals are homeless, it’s very difficult to get out of the situation without a proper support network. A common misconception about homeless people is that they are lazy, addicts, substance abusers, etc. However, the real truth behind people experiencing homelessness is that they are normal people who experienced a major setback in their lives, but didn’t have the proper support system to protect them from losing everything — including their homes.

Newark has a couple of institutions that aid the homeless, but I would like to see greater awareness and compassion for the homeless of Newark, specifically on Main St. Currently, the Newark Empowerment Center (Newark) and the Friendship House (Wilmington) provide aid to the homeless individuals in Newark and the greater area. However, these places do not yet provide overnight housing or food distribution. But they do provide access to clothing, restrooms, phones and mail. It also provides a job readiness program where individuals can work on resumes and job applications.

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This is Harry Warner. He has been homeless for 15 years. You may recognize the Mizu Sushi Bar behind him on Main Street. This is an example of an individual affected by homelessness, and unable to escape the condition for 15 years. There are many others like him in Newark, and I believe we should be caring for them. I want to bring Newark’s hidden homeless population into the light for everyone to see and take action.

 

Accepting Yourself (Core4)

According to Psych Central, approximately 80% of women are dissatisfied with the way they look, and Men’s Fitness Magazine similarly reports that 44% of men aren’t happy with their bodies. There is obviously a trend in society of individuals believing their bodies aren’t good enough. Children now worry about being too fat or too skinny rather than just being healthy. We see pictures in magazines of the “perfect woman” or the “perfect man” and try to live up to this ideal, and thus are never satisfied with ourselves. And it’s not just about weight. People who have skin conditions are afraid to go out without makeup or dove-campaign-for-real-beauty-case-analysis-4-728clothing to hide it. Those who have thinning hair, for age or other reasons, are afraid to go out without wearing a wig or getting treatment to correct it. There are innumerable ways we believe ourselves to be “different” and try to hide this difference out of embarrassment or shame. This lack of self esteem can lead to the allowance of disrespect, hurtful speech, and can even lead to thoughts of suicide. People who don’t like themselves often believe they aren’t worthy of anything better and continually hurt themselves by accepting harmful circumstances, both physically and psychologically. This is why I think my group should support the cause of accepting who you are. There is a movement now to counteract the unrealistic body ideals that the media has presented. We see this through new magazine covers with all body types, commercials for clothing stores with people of all shapes and maxresdefaultsizes pictured, and “no makeup” events that have garnered the support of celebrities through #nomakeup social media pictures. I believe, especially in college where finding and believing in yourself is so important, we should promote the belief that you only need to be the best version of you.

The cause of accepting who you are is already important to the campus of the University of Delaware. UD sororities have participated in this movement by allowing women to take hammers to scales to show that their weight isn’t as important as society has led them to believe. The university’s Student Health Center has also had students write their favorite thing about themselves on handheld mirrors. This way, students see their beauty when they look in the mirror, rather than all of their perceived flaws. I think, as a group, we could easily find other concrete actions to support this essential cause. There 2-smash-your-scale-1024x476are so many ways to help people understand their true worth, and we need to get this message out among our campus.

Self image is so important to the psychological and social welfare of both women and men. People are more successful in relationships, academics, and work when they believe in themselves and are satisfied with who they are. This is why I think it’s so important for my group to support this cause on campus. We need to start a movement of people loving who they are so they can spread this love and positivity to others, even after they leave UD.

The Bluvments- Save the Environment

One movement that stands quite prominent in today’s world and that I feel that my group should be concerned with is that of the state of the environment.  The environment, clearly, places an immense part in the transgressions of our lives and currently stands as one of greatest problems the world faces.  Issues such as global warming and deforestation has had a great impact on the current state of the world, whether it be in terms of weather, resources, etc.  This is an issue that affects every single individual in the world, so action taken on the those on the college campus could prove extremely profitable for the world today and in the years to come.  Means to avoid further deterioration have been taken all over the world, however, pollution and other harmful acts still exist quite prominently in today’s society.  For example, it is predicted that every year about 2.2 billion tons of waste is dumped into our oceans.  This is an unacceptably large amount of waste that must be lessened to help save the environment from inevitable destruction.

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Issues such as those stated above stand as huge but not untreatable problems today.  There are countless ways in which people can help reduce pollution, deforestation, and other environmental issues today.  Simple activities, such as carpooling from place to place, recycling, and bringing your own bag to shop rather than using plastic bags, are easy ways to prevent an augmentation of the issue.  These tasks at first glance may seem only menial, but they can prove to have an enormous effect on mitigating the problem  if enough people follow them, creating a cleaner and healthier planet for the future.

Combatting the issue on the college campus will not only create a more clean and more tolerable place to live, but it will also generate more awareness for the students on an issue that will exist for everyone for the rest of their lives.  It is clear for the necessity of a more sustainable environment, however, many people often neglect the true importance it has on their daily lives ,and it is important to educate others on the issue to prevent this oversight from becoming a reoccurring problem.  For these reasons, I believe my group should focus on helping sustain the environment as it stands as one of the most important features of our lives.

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Team Change: Education and Literacy

Education and literacy are at the heart of our society. If someone is not able to read or write, then how can they fully participate in their society? How can they vote in elections? How can they fully understand the implications of their actions and their leaders’ actions if they are not educated about world events, mathematics, science, and history? If people are not educated as much as they can be and as much as they wish to be, then it will be difficult for them to support themselves and their families through physical labor, minimum-wage, or black-market jobs, which are generally the main types of jobs available for those with at least a high school diploma. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the states with the largest percentages of jobs in industries that require less than a high school diploma were either vacation/retirement destinations with opportunities in hospitality or states that had job opportunities in natural resources and mining, neither of which often require more than, or even as much as, a diploma. Unfortunately, neither of these fields offer many opportunities for advancement without at least a diploma, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree(s).

 

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Source: Flickr Creative Commons

 

I firmly believe that this is an excellent cause to study and work on actually advocating change in. In today’s job market and economy, a lack of education in essential fields such as science and mathematics and an inability to read are a death sentence for getting any job more advanced than minimum-wage- and only in certain industries are these jobs even available. If you look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupation Finder, most jobs that require no formal education credentials were physical labor and/or minimum wage jobs. For example, no one is going to be allowed to work in a school without at least a high school diploma or associate’s degree – even a secretary position requires at least a high school diploma, and some secretary positions require a bachelor’s degree. I think improving the education field and spreading initiatives for literacy and keeping kids in school are extremely important goals for people advocating change in this field to have, and these would be great ideas for my group to focus on if we worked on this topic.

Food Waste in America (Team Change)

When going to the dining hall, there are sometimes so many great options that you can’t help but pick up 3 different plates. Usually, this leaves you with 3 plates semi touched and a whole lot of food waste.

When you think about food waste in regards to your own actual waste, the effects can seem minimal. However, the reality of it is that in the US alone, 30-40% of all food supply is wasted. Worldwide, almost 1/3 of the food produced goes to waste.

An obvious issue with these statistics is the amount of people that die from hunger when there is so much food not being used. According to studies done on world hunger, 1 in 9 people suffer from undernourishment and about 21,000 people die of hunger related issues every day. That being said, if the 1/3 of the food produced did not go to waste but instead went to people who actually needed it, the world would see a lot less hunger.

Not only is this food waste bad for the world in regards to all of the hungry people that could be eating it, but it is detrimental for the environment as well. The food waste that ends up in landfills creates large amounts of methane, which is arguably more harmful to the atmosphere than CO2 emissions. FoodWastePic.jpg

Food waste is an issue with extremely negative consequences, but is a relatively easy fix! On an individual level, it can be combated with something as simple as being mindful of how much food you are consuming and buying. Bringing back leftovers from restaurants or events also minimizes the waste coming these large sources of food.

Composting is another great way to combat this issue. Not only does compositing food reduce waste, but it also has benefits like being a soil conditioner and introduces beneficial organisms to the soil. Here at UD, compositing isn’t available in the dining halls, but imagine the amount of food that would be saved from the landfills if it was? This is something that could be looked into in order to make change on campus.

Even if introducing composting is not completely reasonable at the moment, even just making people aware of the issues coincided with food waste can make a difference. Having signs up at the dining hall that talk about what really happens when you don’t touch your 3 plates may make people think about their actions next time. This is why food waste should be addressed as a movement on campus!

 

Team #1- Suicide and Self Harm Prevention

Most people would agree that it is the responsibility of a group member to look out for the best interests and safety of other group members. A pack of wolves is a prime example of this. According to defenders.org, some wolves may sacrifice their own lives to save the rest of the pack. Consider a team of any kind, specifically ones where a situation could escalate to violence such as baseball or football. If one team member gets involved in an altercation with an opponent, the entire team comes to his or her defense. It is logical to assume that the human race should be no different. It is our responsibility to care for other humans. According to the World Health Organization, approximately one million people commit suicide each year across the nation. For each individual who takes his or her own life, there are at least twenty people who attempt to. Mentalhealthamerica.net says Research indicates that self-injury occurs in approximately as many as 4% of adults in the United States. Rates are higher among adolescents, who seem to be at an increased risk for self-injury, with approximately 15% of teens reporting some form of self-injury. Studies show an even higher risk for self-injury among college students, with rates ranging from 17%-35%. Anyone would agree that these statistics are too high, especially because we, as humans, have the power to stop this. The common denominator between all victims of self-harm is usually deep emotional pain. People harm themselves mainly because of low self-confidence and bullying. There is usually a common fear of being an outcast, or feeling different because of a certain situation or circumstance. The statistics stated above would be a fraction of what they are now if everyone would stop discriminating and bullying. Why is being different always looked at as such a bad thing? Rather than making someone feel like a reject, would it be that difficult to use that energy to brighten someone’s day instead? Think about the feeling you get when a random stranger goes out of his or her way to perform a random act of kindness. It feels pretty good right? It probably has the power to change your mood instantly. In my opinion, it is vital that any group explores methods on how to lower the number of people affected by self-harm and suicide. The goal should be to deplete those numbers to zero eventually, and humans have the power to accomplish that.