Sam goes to Sri Lanka!
As many of you know, I am extremely passionate about the subjects of Psychology, Neuroscience and Bioethics. (It's like I'm getting a degree in those, or something?!)
However, what you may not know is that being a psychology major is taxing more so than other majors, simply becasue there are so many of us. Psychology is such a versatile discipline that many of my friends and peers are also PSYC Majors. They pursue the subject so they can be successful in the world of business and entreprenurship; they use psychology as a way to have an upper hand in a field of social work -- whatever the reason, being a psychology major is NOT special, not in the world of academia, at least.
With that being said, I guess I'll tell you why I'm a psychology major, and then I'll tell you why this trip is so important to me. I am a psychology major because I give a damn about other people. I have had first hand experience and have watched my friends and family struggle with mental illness and the stigma that is so inexplicably intertwined with depression, bipolar disorder, and the rest of the "disorders" found in the DSM-V.
I am a psychology major because I want to help erase that stigma of mental illness. I want to help those hurting. I want to understand and perhaps even be a part of the solution to the suicide epidemic in the United States.
I want to do all of these things. I really do. But, even with the two other interdisciplinary subjects I'm emphasizing in, I need to set myself apart from my peers to be able to truly be considered for graduate school. This trip would help me do that.
But, even then, that's not the point. The point is this: if the United States, a "developed nation," has a stigma toward mental health engrained within our society and healthcare system, I cannot beign to fathom what it must be like in a "devoloping nation." In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death for "twenty-somethings" and adolecsents. In Sri Lanka, suicide is the third leading cause of death for the entire nation -- the nation and the Sri Lankan people rank fifth in the world for the most amount of people that die due to suicide.
The majority of suicides that are successful happen in times of crisis. In Sri Lanka, there is hardly a Crisis Intervention program set up, so, that's what I'd be doing, helping those in crisis, who feel as though they do not deserve help, helping their skin, feel more like skin.
So, that's why I'm going on this trip. I don't want to change the world -- but, if I could, I'd like to take any opportunity to spread and share some hope along the way.
I just want to help.