Do you know a college student or young adult who suffers from anxiety? Anxiety has become one of the most frequent complaints of both mental health and medical patients. It is something most of us experience on a daily basis and might suffer from more than we care to admit. Anxiety can creep up on us in the middle of a joyful event, on our way to work, on our way home after work, during rush hour, during grocery shopping, or even during a date-night with your hubby. Sadly, anxiety has no particular schedule. It comes and it goes when it pleases.
Meet Julia, she is a college senior suffering from anxiety, but using her personal experience to bolster her advocacy. I interviewed Julia about her anxiety and she shared some interesting points.
1. Most families experience great stress, confusion, and uncertainty when a family member experiences a mental illness. It’s just so hard to conceptualize. Could you please explain the beginning of your journey and how you accepted the diagnosis?
2. What was the most difficult part of this life change for you and your family?
3. Some people feel more accepted by friends, support groups, and acquaintances than by their own family. Do you think it’s harder to accept a family member’s mental health diagnosis?
4. Did you see changes within and outside your family due to this diagnosis?
5. How did you approach finding services within the system and was it easy or difficult?
6. What was the hardest part about working with the system?
7. Did you feel supported by the system or did you feel services were all about “business only?”
8. Were resources offered to you or did you have to ask questions and do your own research?
I had to do my own research.
9. How about your overall outlook on life, how has that changed?
10. The mental health system slights families by not allowing certain members access to healthcare records due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996). For many families, it is difficult to access information about treatment without the sufferer’s permission. As a young adult and college senior, do you feel your family is a valued part of your treatment or are you alone? Would you like your family to have access to your mental health records in case of an emergency?
12. Provide us with three things you think needs to change about the mental health system?
13. In a perfect world, mental healthcare, medication, treatment, and services would all be free. What is one essential thing you wish were free?
14. How do you feel about your knowledge of the system? Do you feel you know what you should know?
15. What are three things you think you need from the mental health system to cope with a diagnosis?
16. As a bonus question, please tell us about our Anxious Ramblings podcasts in 3 sentences!
Anxious Ramblings is a biweekly conversation about mental illness.This show will challenge society’s views on the mentally ill and help to fight against the stigma. Anxious ramblings will explore the good, the bad, and the ugly side of living with a mental illness
Thank you Julia for sharing your experience with us. You mentioned some interesting things, but 2 things stood out to me:
I agree with you. We have very little programs that support “recovery” for youths, even on college campuses. We also have very poor treatment options for people who are either among ethnic groups (and have little to no access to treatment) or the college culture. College students are a “minority” group in mental health. Because of some advocacy groups geared toward this age group such as activeminds.org, we are learning about the needs of this population and how to help them. Keep advocating!
Tomorrow we will be looking at a mother who lost her son to suicide. She is not only a sweet Twitter pal, but an active mommy.
I wish you all the best
Biography: Julia Cardoso:
My name is Julia Cardoso. I am currently a senior undergrad student at Emmanuel College studying Sociology. Last May I was going through a rough time. I was in and out of the hospital with signs of panic attacks. Once school started I decided to go to the counseling center and found out I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder. No one in my family was really supportive. I immediately noticed that I would have to fight this mental illness on my own. Being a minority I can definitely see how mental health is completely ignored. We either don’t get help at all or when we do it’s not the best available treatment. I do believe that due to the stigma, my family wasn’t able to help me through this tough time because they simply didn’t understand. I immediately turned to the internet for help. I joined online support groups and I started a blog on tumblr. I started getting better with the anxiety and I was finally feeling a little like my old self. Through my blog I was able to help people by sharing what I went through and how I got the help despite the stigma. In May 2013 I decided to create my own podcast to educate people about mental illness. My podcast is called Anxious Ramblings. I am also a mental health staff writer for Socialworkhelper.com. In addition, I am working with NAMI Greater Boston Consumer Advocacy. I am working on social media and outreach for young adults with mental illness. I am graduating college in December with the hopes of getting my masters in Clinical Social Work.
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Last reviewed: 9 Oct 2013