Mental Health Care Needs to Be a Norm


Fresno City College Psychological Services. Photo by Tommy Tribble.

Story By: Tasha Turner, Reporter

Many students deal with depression and anxiety on a daily basis.  Despite that, they are expected to go to class and pretend everything is fine. If a student can miss school due to the flu, they should be able to miss due to depression or anxiety.

Mental health problems are very common in the United States, with an estimated 50 percent of all Americans diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If over half of Americans will suffer from a mental illness at least once in their lifetime, how come many students hide the fact that they have a mental illness?

I’ve dealt with depression since I was in middle school, so I understand how sometimes you just need a break from school.

Mental health is just as important as physical health, according to Audrey Taylor Aparicio, a 22-year-old manager and entrepreneur from Fresno.

“As someone who has struggled with mental health, I know how strong you have to be when dealing with relationships, family and school,” Aparicio said. “Anxiety will distract you and depression essentially makes you not care at all about how you’re doing in school.”

Without taking care of your mental health, It’s hard to function like a normal human being, says Sarah Hanifin, an early childhood education and development major at Fresno City College.

“I believe having a multi-faceted approach to treating mental health is important,” Hanifin added. “Medication therapy can be a great tool, but psychotherapy and proper nutrition and exercise can also be great tools to help improve mental and physical health overall.”

As for myself, I take anti-depressants and there is nothing wrong with that.

If mental health was more widely accepted as an illness, more students would be comfortable enough to be open and honest about what they are going through and seek help.

I know how hard it can be to openly admit you couldn’t get the assignment done because, well, you slept all day due to depression.

In my experience, teachers don’t respond well to that truth, but if teachers were more understanding then I would’ve been more open about my depression.

Hanifin once lied to her teachers about missing so much class due to being ashamed of her depression.

“I would have been more forthcoming with my condition to my department leader had mental health been viewed as a normal illness,” Hanifin said. “I don’t think I would have disclosed how severe the condition, but I feel I wouldn’t have blamed it on something else entirely if mental illness was normalized in this culture.”

Fresno City College students can visit the Psychological Services office in the Student Center, Room 216, located above bookstore, to get assistance with any mental health issues.