Suicide at UC Davis
As more students with mental health problems enroll, campuses lack the resources to cope.
By Richard C. Paddock, Times Staff Writer
May 23, 2007
Ok I really don’t want to have to paste this article in because it is sooo long but please take the time to take a look at this article. I think it is really indicative of a major major health problem that has occurred as a result of the VT incident. Health officials on campuses across the United States look to VT as an indicator that depression is on the rise. And while that may entirely true, there are some rather important factors lurking in the background that are not considered.
For instance, not once in this article is there any mention of race except for comparing Tse to Cho Seung Hui in the same sentence. It’s as if healthcare is colorblind. There is no particular consideration of race when analyzing these particular cases. Just health practitioners commenting that suicide and depression is on the rise and that baby boomers can no longer sit idly by and watch their children succumb to their deaths. I really do think this is where mental health breaks down in the U.S. When there is no attempts to look at societal factors, or stereotypical portrayals that influence the ways in which many people of color, in this case Asian Americans are cast. Asian Americans are cast as the Model Minority-a title that harshly becomes the fulcrum for many students’ discontent and perhaps depression. These are serious and real issues affecting the Asian American community, and there are no REAL services out there for Asian Americans to turn to other than the mainstream mental health services that pat you on the back say “many young students such as yourself struggle with depression,” give you a bottle of Prozac, and send you on your way. Looking at racialized societal pressures is a good gauge to measure the inadequacy of U.S. mental health services in addressing the ways in which Asian Americans are pedestalized as the Model Minority and are increasingly buckling under the pressure.
I’m not saying that all Asian Americans are depressed or suicidal, but I am saying that these sort of suicide stories in newspapers are so removed from perhaps what might be the much harsher racialized reality in many of these young peoples lives. Many journalists and health officials seem almost perplexed by these young people, and advocate for increased funding for “General” health services on college campuses. These are not the sort of services that are needed the most from the Asian American population perhaps.
In conclusion, health practitioners need to take an Asian American studies course! All kidding aside they do need to understand that depression and suicide for Asian Americans does not happen within a societal vaccuum. You can’t just add them to the annual youth suicide statistics or depression medicated. While we may be seen as the Model Minority, we are still a “minority”-a population of 5% in this country. Colorblind methodologies within mental health institutions become a sort of tunnel vision that inevitably hurts the Asian American community by glazing over the societal roots at stake. Ironically this same sort of tunnel vision is the same sort of pain that many go through day to day who are unable to see that there is a way out, or that their lives make a matter to anyone else.