Home » Shedding Light on Student Depression

Shedding Light on Student Depression


Watch the following Tedx Talk, featuring college student Jack Park. In this talk, Park shares his story of living with a mental disorder and revisits some of the ways he found help and hope. He makes the case for seeing mental illness in a new light, so that people can begin to address some of the issues associated with suicide, depression, and other preventable mental disorders.

Shedding Light on Student Depression | Jack Park | TEDxPenn

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get Your Custom Essay on
Shedding Light on Student Depression
Just from $9/Page
Order Essay


-You know, when I was a young kid, my mom used to always tell me, “Did you brush your teeth?” before I went to bed every night. Actually, who am I kidding? When I go back home, my mom still asks me if I brushed my teeth every night before I go to bed. I’m, like, 21.


But a few years ago, my mom started to ask me a different question. Hey, did you take your medication before I went to bed? I take lithium before I go to sleep, almost every day. I took it last night before this conference, too.

Lithium. I know. I know what that is. That’s the lithium-ion battery. It’s what makes laptop and cell phone batteries, right? But why is it in my body?

During the second semester of my freshman year, I was a completely different person. I hated myself for weeks and weeks. Nothing gave me joy or happiness. I had slow cognition. I started to stutter in class. I saw no purpose in anything, no worth. I barely eat. Day after day, I even had suicidal thoughts. Living was painful and meaningless anyway. Why live?

One day in my dorm, I almost lost myself to my suicidality. Gasping for life, I then finally decided I need some help. I called my dad, who immediately told my mom to fly over here from Korea and take me to a psychiatrist right away.

I was diagnosed, MDD, Major Depressive Disorder. Although recommended to be hospitalized, I ended up just staying in my room instead for four months. I was on a medical leave.

Depression was not, I had a really bad day, I had a really bad week. But it was, I’m worthless and, for my family, I’m clearly better off dead. They’ll be much more happy when I’m gone. For four months, every moment I was awake.

Depression was more painful than that time in the hospital where I broke my clavicle. I was snowboarding. That’s the closest reference point I can think of in terms of physical pain, so far in my life.

However, soon I learned that my DSM diagnosis was not of major depressive disorder but actually bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder includes a manic episode in addition to the depressive episode.

In mania, I almost didn’t sleep. I talk fast. I had countless world-changing business ideas. I was arrogant, and I was on a ridiculous buying spree. I drank and smoked in parties every night with different people, for 40 days and nights straight. My friends and family thought I was going crazy, but just on the other direction.

Slowly, I realized that I was very abnormal. My psychiatrist told me that I was manic and that taking the lithium might help me prevent future mania or depression, if taken regularly for the rest of my life.

I then promised myself to be more stable, and later on decided to return to Penn, too. Now I’ve been taking lithium for three years, but first, in secret, what do I say to my friends? I hid my pill bottles from my roommates. When I was go into therapy, I’d always just say I’m going to buy something from the bookstore, because the bookstore is right next to Penn’s counseling.

But last winter of 2014, a total of six Penn students ended their own lives over a period of 15 months, one after another. It reminded me of my own painful and dangerous suicidality when I was a freshman here.

Hearing that news broke my heart and brought me to tears. I wanted to do something. I wanted to anything I could in order to reverse this trend and address this issue, because I will never forget how much pain I was in and how close to actual death I went to.

After weeks of thoughts and prayer, I first tell my close friends about my past history and current condition. And then I decide to share to the Penn community. I start from a few hundred likes on my Facebook, and views on YouTube, and notes on Tumblr, and shares on articles featuring that post.

I thought it was crucial for students in distress to reach their social networks, whether it be their friends, their parents, their psychological or psychiatric services, if necessary, without much stigma. When your teeth hurt, you think of visiting a dentist or chewing gum from a dispenser pen.


When you are suffering mentally or emotionally however, counseling or therapy is not really one of your options in your mind. I experienced and witnessed some other coping strategies common in college, sleeping in, watching television, eating, binge drinking, smoking, drugs, hookups, or even just working harder to get a better result as a coping mechanism for the stress.

Dental health is an acceptable topic, but why is mental health sounding very strange? Wait, wait, wait. Aren’t you just sad? Aren’t you just going through a stressful, tough time? Aren’t you just depressed like everybody else?

Here’s the problem, the same word has two different meanings. Hey, how are you doing today? Oh, actually, I’m feeling really depressed right now. What does that mean? The same word depression could either mean unhappiness or clinical depression.

Naturally, it’s easier to downplay what could be a medical condition into just being sad or weak. Some could just say that my suicidality when I was a freshman was just an early sophomore slump. I was just, you know, common slump in college, an identity crisis.

Well, I’ll give you that. Being right in between adolescence and adulthood, college is actually a crucial stage of self identity formation. My prefrontal cortex– which, guys, my emotion and my decisions– is not even fully mature yet. But under excessive and unhealthy self pressure or parental or societal pressure, students often– and they actually do– create harmful life habits for themselves, which can trigger a real mental disorder for those with a biophysical, psychosocial vulnerabilities.

Now, imagine this conversation on campus. Hey, man, what are you doing later tonight? Oh, after this bio class? I’m just finishing my lab. I need to go get a good grade on that one.

Perfectly normal college conversation, right? But notice this. The have tos or the need tos in our daily lives are self-directed, authoritative words.

Dr. William Mace, a clinical psychologist in Philadelphia, who’s also passionate about college mental health, claims that these can control our emotional life with either/or, right or wrong, black or white value judgments. You have to do this today. You should do that today, but you didn’t, but you couldn’t.

Now, the same conversation could sound like this. Oh, after bio class? I want to go finish my lab today. I’d like to get a good grade on that one.

With this process for myself, I’m trying to make the to-do list into want-to-do lists. I can recognize my own voice in my life with more want tos or like tos. I don’t have to. I want to. This helps reduce unhealthy self pressure for me.

I didn’t have to deliver a speech today because I’m a mental health advocate, but I wanted to. If you think you don’t have a choice in your mind, then you actually don’t have a choice in your mind. You don’t have to do something ever. Just be willing to be accepting of the consequence of not doing that action.

My friends in college, you don’t have to finish that biolab. You don’t have to join clubs or that team or rush. You don’t have to lose or gain weight or dressed nice. You don’t have to go to that party on the weekend.

You don’t have to do well in your classes. You don’t have to research or volunteer. You don’t have to apply for those jobs or grants or grad schools. You don’t have to graduate in four years, even. And after graduation, you don’t have to know exactly what you’re doing. We might all want to do these things, but we don’t ever have to.

Self care for mental health, in particular, should be much more prioritized than it is today. Mental disorders, suicidality, takes away too many lives. In fact, after car accidents, suicide is the second leading cause of death for the United States in college campuses. Like I mentioned, it took away six student lives in Penn last year. And actually, during this 10-minute speech, 15 more people ended their lives around the world.

But just even in the United States alone, last year over 1,000 college students ended their own lives on campuses across this country. That’s at least two or three students today.

How to prevent student suicides? There is no simple solution. I wish I knew. But every student is so different. I’m starting from one at a time, starting from myself. For me, my mental disease breeds self-hate and self-pity. I battle that with my belief that God loves me. I’m so wonderfully and fearfully made, so who am I to not love myself. Last winter I wanted to share that testimony to my friends at Penn.

I’m trying to save my own life every day, save it from excessive self pressure, stress and shame, shame that blocks me from getting that help when I need it, from psychiatric or psychological services, because I think it makes me look weak.

Last night, I took my lithium, and tonight I’ll take it again, too. I don’t have to because my psychiatrist told me to, but I want to, at least for now. I’m not actually hiding it from my roommates and withdraw anymore or anyone.

What’s my future like? A life sentence of medication? Well, yeah, perhaps, but still another sacred chance at life. Mental illness is real, painful, reoccurring, and often lethal. If you feel like you need help, please get the help. For me, suicide prevention is not preventing suicides or preventing deaths. It’s about living more and finding your purpose and joy in each of your lives. Nobody can be actually saved from death, after all.

Lastly, if your loved ones, friends, or family need help, please help get the help. It’s hard to get help yourself when you’re at such a horrible place to begin with. You don’t need to be a therapist to have a therapeutic conversation. And therapy and medication, they help for sure. But at the end, love heals people.

I thank my parents, family, and friends who loved me back then and love me til now. And I thank God I’m still around, and be able to deliver a speech to you today. Thank you.

  1. Write a short (400-600 words) response paper in which you address the following questions:
    • What do you think of Jack’s practice of changing his “to-do” lists into “want-to-do” lists? What does he hope to gain from this shift?
    • Which coping mechanisms does Jack observe his fellow students using to deal with stress and mental health challenges? What does Jack think is the deeper problem?
    • Why, in Jack’s view, is it hard for people to get help for mental health problems in the same way they might seek help for dental problems?
    • Add your own thoughts about the obstacles you think students may face in getting help for mental health issues.

Get Professional Assignment Help Cheaply

Buy Custom Essay

Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?

Whichever your reason is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.

Why Choose Our Academic Writing Service?

  • Plagiarism free papers
  • Timely delivery
  • Any deadline
  • Skilled, Experienced Native English Writers
  • Subject-relevant academic writer
  • Adherence to paper instructions
  • Ability to tackle bulk assignments
  • Reasonable prices
  • 24/7 Customer Support
  • Get superb grades consistently

Online Academic Help With Different Subjects


Students barely have time to read. We got you! Have your literature essay or book review written without having the hassle of reading the book. You can get your literature paper custom-written for you by our literature specialists.


Do you struggle with finance? No need to torture yourself if finance is not your cup of tea. You can order your finance paper from our academic writing service and get 100% original work from competent finance experts.

Computer science

Computer science is a tough subject. Fortunately, our computer science experts are up to the match. No need to stress and have sleepless nights. Our academic writers will tackle all your computer science assignments and deliver them on time. Let us handle all your python, java, ruby, JavaScript, php , C+ assignments!


While psychology may be an interesting subject, you may lack sufficient time to handle your assignments. Don’t despair; by using our academic writing service, you can be assured of perfect grades. Moreover, your grades will be consistent.


Engineering is quite a demanding subject. Students face a lot of pressure and barely have enough time to do what they love to do. Our academic writing service got you covered! Our engineering specialists follow the paper instructions and ensure timely delivery of the paper.


In the nursing course, you may have difficulties with literature reviews, annotated bibliographies, critical essays, and other assignments. Our nursing assignment writers will offer you professional nursing paper help at low prices.


Truth be told, sociology papers can be quite exhausting. Our academic writing service relieves you of fatigue, pressure, and stress. You can relax and have peace of mind as our academic writers handle your sociology assignment.


We take pride in having some of the best business writers in the industry. Our business writers have a lot of experience in the field. They are reliable, and you can be assured of a high-grade paper. They are able to handle business papers of any subject, length, deadline, and difficulty!


We boast of having some of the most experienced statistics experts in the industry. Our statistics experts have diverse skills, expertise, and knowledge to handle any kind of assignment. They have access to all kinds of software to get your assignment done.


Writing a law essay may prove to be an insurmountable obstacle, especially when you need to know the peculiarities of the legislative framework. Take advantage of our top-notch law specialists and get superb grades and 100% satisfaction.

What discipline/subjects do you deal in?

We have highlighted some of the most popular subjects we handle above. Those are just a tip of the iceberg. We deal in all academic disciplines since our writers are as diverse. They have been drawn from across all disciplines, and orders are assigned to those writers believed to be the best in the field. In a nutshell, there is no task we cannot handle; all you need to do is place your order with us. As long as your instructions are clear, just trust we shall deliver irrespective of the discipline.

Are your writers competent enough to handle my paper?

Our essay writers are graduates with bachelor's, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college degree. All our academic writers have a minimum of two years of academic writing. We have a stringent recruitment process to ensure that we get only the most competent essay writers in the industry. We also ensure that the writers are handsomely compensated for their value. The majority of our writers are native English speakers. As such, the fluency of language and grammar is impeccable.

What if I don’t like the paper?

There is a very low likelihood that you won’t like the paper.

Reasons being:

  • When assigning your order, we match the paper’s discipline with the writer’s field/specialization. Since all our writers are graduates, we match the paper’s subject with the field the writer studied. For instance, if it’s a nursing paper, only a nursing graduate and writer will handle it. Furthermore, all our writers have academic writing experience and top-notch research skills.
  • We have a quality assurance that reviews the paper before it gets to you. As such, we ensure that you get a paper that meets the required standard and will most definitely make the grade.

In the event that you don’t like your paper:

  • The writer will revise the paper up to your pleasing. You have unlimited revisions. You simply need to highlight what specifically you don’t like about the paper, and the writer will make the amendments. The paper will be revised until you are satisfied. Revisions are free of charge
  • We will have a different writer write the paper from scratch.
  • Last resort, if the above does not work, we will refund your money.

Will the professor find out I didn’t write the paper myself?

Not at all. All papers are written from scratch. There is no way your tutor or instructor will realize that you did not write the paper yourself. In fact, we recommend using our assignment help services for consistent results.

What if the paper is plagiarized?

We check all papers for plagiarism before we submit them. We use powerful plagiarism checking software such as SafeAssign, LopesWrite, and Turnitin. We also upload the plagiarism report so that you can review it. We understand that plagiarism is academic suicide. We would not take the risk of submitting plagiarized work and jeopardize your academic journey. Furthermore, we do not sell or use prewritten papers, and each paper is written from scratch.

When will I get my paper?

You determine when you get the paper by setting the deadline when placing the order. All papers are delivered within the deadline. We are well aware that we operate in a time-sensitive industry. As such, we have laid out strategies to ensure that the client receives the paper on time and they never miss the deadline. We understand that papers that are submitted late have some points deducted. We do not want you to miss any points due to late submission. We work on beating deadlines by huge margins in order to ensure that you have ample time to review the paper before you submit it.

Will anyone find out that I used your services?

We have a privacy and confidentiality policy that guides our work. We NEVER share any customer information with third parties. Noone will ever know that you used our assignment help services. It’s only between you and us. We are bound by our policies to protect the customer’s identity and information. All your information, such as your names, phone number, email, order information, and so on, are protected. We have robust security systems that ensure that your data is protected. Hacking our systems is close to impossible, and it has never happened.

How our Assignment Help Service Works

1. Place an order

You fill all the paper instructions in the order form. Make sure you include all the helpful materials so that our academic writers can deliver the perfect paper. It will also help to eliminate unnecessary revisions.

2. Pay for the order

Proceed to pay for the paper so that it can be assigned to one of our expert academic writers. The paper subject is matched with the writer’s area of specialization.

3. Track the progress

You communicate with the writer and know about the progress of the paper. The client can ask the writer for drafts of the paper. The client can upload extra material and include additional instructions from the lecturer. Receive a paper.

4. Download the paper

The paper is sent to your email and uploaded to your personal account. You also get a plagiarism report attached to your paper.

smile and order essay GET A PERFECT SCORE!!! smile and order essay Buy Custom Essay

Place your order
(550 words)

Approximate price: $22

Calculate the price of your order

550 words
We'll send you the first draft for approval by September 11, 2018 at 10:52 AM
Total price:
The price is based on these factors:
Academic level
Number of pages
Basic features
  • Free title page and bibliography
  • Unlimited revisions
  • Plagiarism-free guarantee
  • Money-back guarantee
  • 24/7 support
On-demand options
  • Writer’s samples
  • Part-by-part delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Copies of used sources
  • Expert Proofreading
Paper format
  • 275 words per page
  • 12 pt Arial/Times New Roman
  • Double line spacing
  • Any citation style (APA, MLA, Chicago/Turabian, Harvard)

Our guarantees

Delivering a high-quality product at a reasonable price is not enough anymore.
That’s why we have developed 5 beneficial guarantees that will make your experience with our service enjoyable, easy, and safe.

Money-back guarantee

You have to be 100% sure of the quality of your product to give a money-back guarantee. This describes us perfectly. Make sure that this guarantee is totally transparent.

Read more

Zero-plagiarism guarantee

Each paper is composed from scratch, according to your instructions. It is then checked by our plagiarism-detection software. There is no gap where plagiarism could squeeze in.

Read more

Free-revision policy

Thanks to our free revisions, there is no way for you to be unsatisfied. We will work on your paper until you are completely happy with the result.

Read more

Privacy policy

Your email is safe, as we store it according to international data protection rules. Your bank details are secure, as we use only reliable payment systems.

Read more

Fair-cooperation guarantee

By sending us your money, you buy the service we provide. Check out our terms and conditions if you prefer business talks to be laid out in official language.

Read more
error: Content is protected !!
Open chat
Need assignment help? You can contact our live agent via WhatsApp using +1 718 717 2861

Feel free to ask questions, clarifications, or discounts available when placing an order.
  +1 718 717 2861           + 44 161 818 7126           [email protected]
  +1 718 717 2861         [email protected]