By Christina Torres:
Every year, members of Phi Theta Kappa, the national community college honors society, carry out a year-long research project called “Honors in Action.” This year, the Amarillo College PTK chapter has chosen depression among college students as the focus for research.
“After reaching an agreement, we will strive our greatest to educate ourselves on the matter and to even find a solution to the problem,” Taylor Gray, a biology major, said.
Samantha Perez-Macias, a business management major, said the purpose of the project is to absorb as much information as they can and try to bring better awareness or some type of impact that provides a positive outcome.
“Our PTK chapter is currently trying to provide real evidence on how many people have, or are currently suffering from depression in the AC community,” Perez-Macias said.
The researchers are still in the beginning stages of the project, but so far they have discovered that a majority of students suffer or have suffered from depression at one point in their lives.
“I have some sources that show a direct relation between social media and depression,” Gray said. “We are currently conducting a survey to find out the main coping methods and causations of depression.”
Joshua McCormack, a pre-physical therapy major, said that during their research they discovered that 50 percent of all suicides can be traced back to depression.
“I have learned that more people in college go through depression than I ever realized,” Jimmy Ray Nye III, a psychology major, said. Nye also explained that various causes of depression may include test anxiety, college tuition, social interaction and new environments.
Having an understanding of the issue is important and beneficial in many ways. Depression can affect anyone and everyone, so understanding the issue at hand will allow for the opportunity o help each other, according to Osiel Mondragon, a general studies major.
Perez-Macias agreed and noted, “Depression should be taken very seriously because people have lost loved ones to it. The outcome of the illness is heartbreaking and people who suffer from depression should not be afraid to share their story or be afraid to seek help.”
The students said the group hopes their work will help eliminate the stigma associated with depression and will encourage anyone suffering from depression to get help.
“Everyone should be aware that there are beings on this earth who struggle every day to get by because of this illness,” Perez-Macias said. “Some may think that they are over exaggerating, but you cannot judge someone if you don’t take the time to understand their story and emotions.”
Building greater understanding and compassion are the first steps toward combating the issue, Gray said. “We would like the Amarillo College student body to know that depression is common. Individual students should know that there are people with open arms on campus that are willing to help.”