Hannah I haven’t actually seen (only heard about) the Tom Cruise episode on the Today Show. After watching this I thought it was very amusing (yet thought provoking nonetheless) and touches on a topic we briefly mentioned in class. That is, prior to going to college how many of us had taken a class on psychology and neuroscience? How many of us understood, as Mr. Cruise expertly pointed out, knew what Ritalin is? What depression, anxiety disorder, or any other mental illness was? I think one or two people raised their hands but as for me I knew nothing/very little.
Prior to learning these information I was influenced by media and learned via hearsay (“well, my Dad told me that he knew a fellah who had a sister who was married to a guy and he was depressed-sort of, crazy eh?”) Disorders lie on a spectrum and the media would never cover a story unless the person exemplified the very worst of the spectrum (i.e. Dr. Drew’s celebrity Rehab show). As uneducated students and children (and adults as well) we can easily be lead astray and fall into believing we understand depression, anxiety, and addiction based on what we see.
In grade school I felt like I was the only one that wasn’t on Ritalin. Those on Ritalin were “bad.” When I heard someone was depressed, suffering from bulimia/anorexia I thought they were trying to get attention. I remember when my best friend was given antidepressants and anti-anxiety pills and thought there was something wrong with him-was he crazy? Only crazy people took medication.
I think T. Cruise had a great point right at the end when he said, “I don’t talk about things I don’t understand…I’ll go find more information so I can come to the opinions based on the information I have.” This idea leads to another topic we discussed and that was, who could benefit from psychology today? I think early education is very beneficial and high schools should adopt psychology courses.
Historically, biology was required in most high schools but as we understand more and learn more about mental illnesses such as depression, focus on psychology will be and is just as important. I think the article by Miller and Keller explains clearly the need for both psychology and biology to co-exist. Like Tom Cruise, “I’m passion about learning. I’m passion about life” and with more understanding of psychological disorders, how many social issues could be avoided if students understood why their peers are behaving the way they do?