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HLPE1540

Brittany Selwood

ID: 2167037

INQUIRY PROJECT REPORT


How has the Inquiry Project experience advanced my understandings of what
good health education might be, and why?
My understandings surrounding the topic of good health education have been
widely developed while learning about mental health problems in young people as a
part of my inquiry project experience. I can successfully explore mental health
issues as a part of the sociological imagination template and analytically think about
it in a historical, cultural, structural and critical way. Mental health refers to
someone's emotional and social wellbeing. Many young students experience
symptoms of mental health without actually realising and therefore fail to seek help
from parents, friends or their teachers. As a future educator our group believed that
the class needed to be fully aware of these issues and respond to them to ensure
the healthiness of young people in society.
To have a social understanding of how mental health disorders are apparent in our
society among the youth of Australia, the sociological imagination template is to be
considered. This template is extremely important when analysing and thinking
critically about health issues. Historically, I have learnt that mental health is most
common between the ages of 16 and 24, which is why for the presentation we
focused on the Australian youth under the age of 25. It was also researched that
some of the most common forms of mental health disorders are depression, anxiety,
bipolar, eating disorders (anorexia nervosa, bulimia etc.) and schizophrenia. I
believe that these forms of illness have always been the most common among
young people in Australias history.
From a cultural perspective, each individual has a different opinion on the ways in
which mental health affects the young population. The culture is linked with stigma
and how the stereotyped groups and labels that are given to an individual with
mental health can be a cause of discrimination and unfair judgement within the
community. Mental health disorder sufferers are shamed by society for not fitting in
which can actually cause more problems to the persons mind-set and be a trigger
for problematic thoughts such as suicide.
With connection to structure, the community of strong people suffering from a
mental health condition affect the people close to them. Friends, family and even
teachers can be affected by ones illness and therefore being a future educator, I
must have a strong understanding of the topic and how to manage it. Learning how
to deal with the issue and how to approach students about it is something that all
teachers should know before entering the education sector in case a student
approaches you for help. There are special mental health disorder courses that can
train people to learn how to approach a person with a mental health disorder and
speak to them appropriately.

HLPE1540

Brittany Selwood

ID: 2167037

Finally, from a critical point of view, this issue can be further improved by assisting in
the recovery process of these affected individuals. The willingness to recover and
seek help is a large part of the mental health condition recovery process. To
overcome and improve our social environment, sufferers need to be willing to
recover and awareness needs to be raised around the world of this subject in order
to help people recuperate.
Overall socially, I found that people coming from low-socioeconomic areas or
backgrounds could find it difficult to recover from a mental health disorder due to not
being able to access required treatments or not being able to afford it. A visit with a
specialised doctor, psychologist or psychiatrist can be costly and from a social
perspective this could be an underlying issue for struggling or poor families.
In the presentation as a group we focused on topic areas/questions such as Why
do young people have such a high rate of mental health problems?, Who does the
issue affect?, What affect does mental health socially have on society? and What
support is available and what can we do to help?. When we divided these
questions up between the three group members I focused on why young people
have such a high rate of mental health problems and what can we do to help them. I
researched and found that factors such as social media, a persons genetic
background and family issues (such as death, financial problems or abuse) are all
causes of mental health problems in young people. I believe that these causes are
similar to those of adults but social media and a teenagers aspiration to look like
their idol would be the biggest trigger of depression or an eating disorder in youth.
This media connection can be linked to the sociological imagination template in the
ways that culturally a person with mental health issues is unacceptable to society. I
also discovered that there are many organisations such as Beyond Blue,
Headspace Australia and the Butterfly Foundation that can help with recovery from
mental health disorders as well as specialised doctors to help accurately diagnose
an issue.
As a part of the presentation, one of my close friends who was suffering mental
health issue helped our group by writing a piece about her feelings and emotional
situation whilst trying to complete year 12 last year. Her piece that I read out to the
class is what it felt like for her to complete a full day at school whilst battling and
recovering from anorexia nervosa. The class all agreed that it was a very powerful
piece of writing that showed real insight into how a battle with a mental health issue
is if you can think about it with your sociological imagination. Without knowing too
much about her emotional state over last year, this shocked me and gave me better
understandings of what it would feel like the be properly diagnosed with a mental
health disorder. To conclude this element of the presentation it is possible to connect
this individual to our society. Everyone has a large impact and connection with
society but a person battling from a mental health problem may feel excluded. In

HLPE1540

Brittany Selwood

ID: 2167037

relation to this and the cultural aspect of the sociological imagination template, the
social stigma that surrounds mental health in society is fundamentally underrated.
To expand, people who suffer from a mental health issue are socially unaccepted,
stereotyped and shamed due to not fitting in with the normality of our current
society. I believe that this should not be the case and everybody should be
accepted, therefore possibly lowering the rates of mental health issues amongst
Australian youth. Within our group we also decided to conduct a small survey to
further interact with the class and see how they were using their sociological
imagination. The class agreed with us that depression and anxiety were probably
the most common types of mental health conditions in society. This showed us that
the class members all had an understanding and awareness of how prominent
mental health is in our world and the fact that they were intrigued by our
presentation showed how much they cared about the topic.
I found it interesting when after our presentation; we were presented with the
question of whether or not a person suffering from a mental health condition should
be allowed to continue in their teacher education course at university. As a part of a
class discussion we talked about that acceptance is important and although
teachers need to be very strong individuals to do their job that it would be almost
offensive to exclude. We also discussed that it would depend on the type of mental
health disorder that the person has whether it be a small degree of anxiety or
depression that can be recovered from or something such as schizophrenia (without
proper medication) that would affect them from completing their job successfully and
could be dangerous towards their students and their wellbeing and welfare.
Through this project I have learnt that good health education can be defined by
many contributing factors. Awareness of mental health as a general term in society
is important to help educate the world. Similarly, the awareness of being nonjudgemental towards mental health disorder battlers is important and to be shamed
in society for this is wrong and often overlooked. The promotion of awareness in
relation to mental health is vital in schools around Australia so that bullying and
discrimination within these schools due to these issues can be eradicated.
I learnt many teamwork skills from my group also. Teamwork is an important
employability skill and brings together different peoples strengths, skills and abilities
to obtain a higher quality overall result. With a hard-working and trustworthy group I
believe we worked well together and learnt lots about the topic of mental health in
young people. I believe the foundations in health education topic has improved my
understandings of what good health education is but in particular this project has
helped me to understand the sociological imagination template and how to critically
analyse a situation relating to health education.
Word Count: 1469