Letters to the Editor

How SLO can truly become the ‘Happiest City’: Better mental health help

Staffers walk in the adult residential hallway at the SLO County Psychiatric Health Facility.
Staffers walk in the adult residential hallway at the SLO County Psychiatric Health Facility. dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo is often referred to as one of the “Happiest Cities in America.” As a college student attending Cal Poly, this stereotype is often reinforced in my mind while walking through campus and seeing the smiling faces of my peers. But with mental illness affecting 1 in 5<TH>young people in today’s society, perhaps this stereotype isn’t necessarily true.

Mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and ADHD (among other more serious disorders) have a huge impact on our youth population, yet they are often pushed under the rug.

Teenagers and young adults are often under the influence of a “pill first” philosophy when it comes to mental health treatments, but is this really the best way to treat the problem? Can a small pill fix the crippling mental state of our society? Medications often have detrimental side effects, and there are other forms of therapy that could be utilized in lieu of, or alongside, pills that are equally beneficial.

If we truly wish to become the “Happiest City in America,” it’s time we address and seek to fix the mental health issues that so negatively affect our youths by providing more than just a pill.

Melanie Flores, student, Cal Poly

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