Issue: The Origin
Mental health is an urgent issue, and its pursuit has gained immeasurable widespread acclaim in recent years. The World Health Organization (2018) defines mental health as a state of well-being in which one can cope with everyday stresses, work productively, and contribute to society.
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The current COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a rise in mental health issues among many populations. Today, students are more likely to be more attentive to their mental health and strive for wellness, while stigmatization of mental health disorders is declining (Lipson, Lattie, & Eisenberg, 2019). However, the notion of wellness can influence how students perceive challenging material, especially in the teaching of humanities. In addition, many universities prefer to drop humanities from their programs due to funding concerns (Scheidenhelm & Contributor, 2018). In turn, this leads to the democratization of humanities to preserve their place in higher education.
Issue: The Description
Thus, the discussed social issue is the potentially detrimental effect of the notion of mental health well-being on education. According to Campion (2017), the concept of mental wellness has radically changed the idea and presentation of a whole category of the humanities by emphasizing empathy and communication. However, this leads to the oversimplification of humanities in the name of wellness. Simplification of scientific subjects, such as history or philosophy, can result in their existence being made obsolete. Furthermore, the tendency to make the material more accessible translates into the absence of a thoughtful discussion of the information or selection of more superficial topics and distortion of complex concepts.
Issue: Impact on Society
Any detrimental effect on the quality of education is damaging to broader society as students comprise their future workforce and our future leaders. Kaneti (2019) notes that humanities “call into question our ways of life and most fundamental assumptions” and are integral to examining and re-imagining social structures. Distortion of humanities can result in students failing to develop crucial skills, such as critical thinking and reflection, including self-reflection, and to stagnation of sciences (Datta, 2017; Firestone, 2019).
Psychiatrists note that humanities help develop empathy and foster a deeper understanding and respect for the world (Schlozman, 2017). Finally, humanities help understand the cultural and social context of mental health and can improve it (Fancourt & Finn, 2019). Overall, these subjects have a meaningful impact on society, and their restraint will have an adverse effect on it.
Society has a substantial impact on the decline and oversimplification of humanities subjects. According to Kaneti (2019), universities prefer to focus on pre-professional disciplines, defunding arts, history, and philosophy programs. Moreover, students are more focused on their mental health and well-being, often disregarding notions they find too complex or irrelevant to maintain that wellness.
Considering the stark increase in mental health problems among students, including those developed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, universities are more prepared to cater to their mental health. In addition, many disorders have cognitive and affective manifestations, such as irritation, lack of concentration, and difficulty processing information (Davis, 2021). Thus, societal trends focusing on mental health and pre-professional disciplines lead to the oversimplification of humanities to preserve the subjects and students’ interest in them.
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Myself: Effect on the individual framework of perception
Critically analyzing wellness and the effect the pursuit of mental health well-being can have on education, particularly the humanities subjects, has significantly altered my framework of perception. I appreciate that my judgment may not accurately interpret the discussed topic and reflects my values, needs, and preconceived knowledge about the world (Black, Gardner, Pierce, & Steers, 2019). Nevertheless, studying wellness and its potentiality for an adverse impact on higher learning, students, their skill set, and society as a whole altered my general perception of the world. This topic taught me that embracing the importance of one notion, even such a vital one as mental health, should not lessen the value of others. It is crucial to support mental health and wellness pursuits, but academia should not favor simplicity.
Myself: Influence on the Field of Study
Critical analysis of wellness and pursuit of mental health and well-being also influenced my perception of social sciences as the branch of science investigating the relationship of different societies and individuals within them. The investigation of wellness and its impact on humanities subjects showed me that mental health well-being will likely remain one of the most critical topics in the next five to ten years. However, it can further damage society by fostering narrow-mindedness, moralism, and homogeneity through the lack of challenging discussions and polemics. Thus, oversimplification of complex concepts in favor of mental health and well-being should be discouraged. I believe a balanced approach to mental health and education should be championed.
Society: Effect on Ability to Interact with People
The examination of the notion of wellness and mental health well-being showed me that it is critical to be able to interact with other people and build meaningful relationships. Social connectedness is a predictor of mental health and must be promoted, specifically, among young adults (Saeri, Cruwys, Barlow, Stronge, & Sibley, 2017). The analysis of the concept of wellness added great value to my understanding of the power and significance of social interactions. Overall, I plan to increase the number of my interactions with other people to improve my mental health. Furthermore, in these interactions, it is crucial to be able to respect the wellness of others.
Society: Understanding Global Issues
The investigation of wellness, the pursuit of mental health, and their effect on humanities added to my ability to understand global events and issues. I think it is essential to consider how international matters, such as COVID-19, impact the mental health of different populations and how those changes will affect other issues. Thus, when discussing various critical situations, it is vital to consider the events preceding them and their effect on society and the mental health of individuals within it. For example, the effect of COVID-19 on students’ mental health and the consequent impact on their education must be considered. Overall, the wellness investigation helped me understand that global issues are complex and can create ripple effects worldwide.
Society: Meeting Personal and Professional Goals
Mental health well-being and overall wellness are crucial for achieving personal and professional goals. Strategies for meeting these goals should consider the potential impact on mental health and mitigate it through careful goal setting. For instance, critical analysis can be implemented in everyday life to interpret other people’s needs and potential outcomes of an action, such as participating in a protest against COVID-19 restrictions. Furthermore, within the social sciences field, wellness can be used to address numerous day-to-day responsibilities, including, for example, the assessment of persons in distress and suffering from intimate partner abuse.
Overall, addressing issues in wellness is crucial to understanding modern societies and personal and professional interactions within them. Critical wellness analysis can help mitigate its adverse effects in many fields, including humanities and their democratization and oversimplification (Campion, 2017). Furthermore, it can yield a better understanding of the concept and what steps should be taken to achieve it. However, critical examination of wellness can be perceived negatively by society and as an attack on the trend of pursuing mental health. In personal and professional interactions, wellness analysis can help better understand the interdependent nature of one’s actions and mental health outcomes.
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Scheidenhelm, C., & Contributor, O. (2018). Losing humanities in education is propelling a deficit of empathy. Web.
Schlozman, S. C. (2017). Why psychiatric education needs the humanities. Academic Psychiatry, 41(6), 703–706. Web.
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