Technology's Effect on Mental Health- Lauren Orr and Isabelle Mark

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact
2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Persona name: Jack Cooper Age: 17 School/occupation: Pioneer High School Location: Ann Arbor   Quote: "I have a physics midterm on Wednesday and the playoffs start Tuesday night. How am I going to do well on this test, when I have a team depending on me to win?"   About:
  • Captain of the Varsity Football team.
  • Works at the local pizza place two nights a week. 
  • Helps take care of his younger siblings when his parents are busy with work.
  • Go to a great college that balances both academics and football.
  • Make enough money to save up for a car.
  • Excell in school, while still having good relationships with his friends.


POV Statement:
  • User Jack, a 16 year old superstar athlete, who struggles from the pressures of school work and anxiety. 
  • Need Needs a way to feel more confident in his skin without comparing himself to others. 
  • Insight because of his commitment to his team, he has a hard time balancing his social life and school work. This is affecting his mental health. 


3. Potential Solutions:

Problem: Jack Cooper needs a way to feel more confident in who he is without comparing himself to his classmates and athlete friends. Although he is the captain of his football team, he is having trouble managing his social life and student life, which is giving him stress and anxiety. 



In my high school (Jericho Senior High School), I can honestly say I experienced a very close bond with my guidance counselor. I connected with her over academic goals and dreams, as well as vented to her in times of stress and drama at school. I left her office each time confident and content. I believe every student should be able to have this one on one connection with their guidance counselor. I know every school has different budgets and systems, as I am sure many under privileged schools do not have enough counselors to have their own relationships with the number of students that attend that school. If Jack had a guidance counselor at school, where he could go to he/she office at any point in the day to destress, talk, or plan out his day where he can reduce his stress and anxiety—I think this would be a game changer for him, as most of the time his parents are at work and he could use an outlet for some guidance.

We have attached an article below regarding what school counselors do, with history on what required training they needed to complete for this profession. We think this article will help in showing how a counselor will be a great way for Jack to open up his anxieties and feel confident in his own skin. As the article mentioned, school counseling takes place in public and private school settings in grades K-12—although some schools will have different levels of counseling, we believe a mandatory meeting with a counselor monthly should be implemented. Some students can feel uncomfortable reaching out to their guidance counselor first. With mandatory check-in meetings, they will eventually become comfortable to open up and seek advice and direction.


In our first solution, we discussed how Jack should have a one on one connection with his guidance counselor. In our next solution, we think a program should be implemented in Jack’s high school where each teacher should hold extra-help slots throughout the week according to their schedules and their students’ schedules. Through our research, we found an article titled “How 1-on-1 Time with Students Made Me a Better Teacher.” In this story, the teacher expresses that her 1-on-1 time with her student Tommy not only helped him become a better student, but enabled him to open up about his personal life to her. She states 

     “As we worked on his assignments and got to know each other better, it was clear that Tommy felt supported, and as a result, his confidence and his scores went up. As I started to understand what motivated him, our interactions took on a new level of depth and I became a more effective teacher for him. Learning went from something intimidating that he had to do alone while I stood in front of the class, to a more relaxed, student-centered collaboration.”

This quote remind me of our Persona Jack and what he needs from his teachers. I know most teachers are mothers and have a personal life outside of school, but it should be a rule that teachers should be available at extra times throughout the week for their students. Not every student is able to receive the attention they need from their teacher during one period a day. I think this solution will help Jack feel more confident in his studies, and also more confident in his ability to balance both school and sports, as his teachers will be able to see his hard work and commitment to both.


In this third solution, we think that there should be set instructions for communication between coaches and teachers. It is said that students often prioritize sports over their academics, when in reality it should be the other way around. Student athletes feel a lot of pressure from both teachers and coaches, which leads to a hard time in balancing what is expected of them. Throughout our research, we found an article titled, “How Teachers and Sports Coaches Can Help Ensure That ‘Everyone Wins’.” In this piece, Jill Henry, a girls cross-country coach, and others, all explain what can be done from both sides in order to ease the pressure among these children. Jill Henry discusses how coaches need to let loose, know the schedule, communicate, and be flexible, as well as what teachers can do. This includes being flexible and knowing the schedule. Specifically, when talking about knowing the schedule with coaches she says, “when the demands of school became overwhelming, it will be difficult for athletes to give their all at practice. Consult the school calendar for standard tests, exams, projects, and the end of the grading period, and then plan your schedule accordingly when possible.”

This quote reminded me of Jack and what he needs from his coaches in order to feel secure in balancing the two most important things in his life currently. Having his coaches work with the schedule will allow him to be able to be vocal with his coaches and manage his time better.


Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal:

Senate bill no. 41

Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan:

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal?

After a very tragic suicide in our community of a high school girl, we realized the severity of mental illness and how important it is to help teens struggling mentally. This happened last year, so this issue is still very present in our minds and influenced us to further study the issue of mental health and how we can help fix this problem, specifically in the state of Michigan. 

In addition to the bill, we hope the state can provide counselors to be trained to identify for this program and mandate that every school district we target has at least quarterly check-ins with students.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal?

By working at Food Gatherers, we are able to see the difference a substantial meal can affect one's health, in particular one's mental health. We know that when someone eats well, they are more inclined to think clearly and feel more alert. After whitnessing this, we looked up how eating can affect mental health and found this article that shows exactly what we thought. As we read through it, we saw how it discussed brain food and it sparked an idea in our heads. Wanting to related it to something more personal to us, we took this perspective thought about our high school experience. As we started thinking about mental health, we realized our high school, Jericho High School, has an incredible program that helps students balance social and school life in order to better their mental health. 

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

Media Artifact


Talk directly with at least 3 real live people who have special knowledge about this topic or the impact your proposal would have, and summarize their comments. These may include people appearing in your media artifact (video, podcast, etc.).


Mrs. Bodner—former guidance counselor at Jericho Senior High School. When we interviewed Mrs. Bodner, we started off with asking her about her experience with mental health illness and how it has impacted some of her students. She stressed to us how important it is that she made monthly meetings with each of her students—not only to discuss how they are doing academically, but how they are doing socially and mentally. She shared with us that when she is dealing with a student who is mentally struggling, or seems to be on his/her way there, she takes on a few steps. For example, she forms a relationship with his/her guardians and informs all teachers of the issue—so they are extra sensitive. Jericho High School especially provides awesome resources and help for struggling students, so Candy expressed how well run she feels the system she works in is. this also led to her explanation of how in underprivileged neighborhoods, struggling students don’t get the same amount of care and support students at Jericho do, which upsets her and agrees with our viewpoint on how schools in Michigan who don’t have these resources should be allocated the money to implement programs to help mentally ill students. 



Sharon Botter—mother of Jericho High School students and a social worker. Sharon was an amazing person to discuss our proposal with, as she not only has children who have gone through the Jericho High School system like we have, but she has spent her life as a social worker guiding adolescents who struggle with mental illness. Sharon said she see’s mental illness in teens who have pressure at home, or feel the need to put a lot of pressure on themselves. She said in her years being in this career—her first step when she meets a mentally ill teenager is to brainstorm ways they can engage in positive, confidence building activities. Of course, she informs the parents and writes a note to the school counselor and teachers to inform them of the issue—but she tries to focus on creating ways to build up the teenager mentally.



Jordan—Jordan is a student at Jericho High School who is on a varsity sports team and is a very bright and hardworking student. Although Jordan doesn’t struggle from mental illness, he shared with us how he notices how it can overcome his peers who are in the same situation as him. However, he mentions his friends don’t have the same family support system he has. A lot of them feel pressure to succeed in everything they are involved in, and have a fear of failing their parents and teachers. We asked Jordan how often he sees this—he responded a lot, which surprised us but also further proves how prevalent this issue is today in our society. We shared with Jordan our ideas of our proposal, and asked what he thinks of (if schools who aren’t financially stable in Michigan are granted the money) creating a program where students, guidance counselors, and teachers can have workshop events on how to strategize positive and a healthy life. It was fascinating to talk to someone who is potentially in the same boat as Jack, and definitely knows peers who are similar to Jack and get his advice on our statement. 

Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

You must solicit a critique from a topic coordinator, and explain the impact that advice has had on the final draft of this proposal.

Our TC Devin McIntyre pointed out to us that our three solutions were very faculty based at schools, so we decided to combine our solutions into one where we are focusing on implementing programs through schools at Michigan to combat mental illness for students


Research process:

Describe your research process — indicate who you talked to (including but not limited to consultants), what you read, what your thinking was, how it changed over time, and how your consultants changed your thinking. This description of your research process definitely could include “dead ends,” or ideas you had that didn’t ultimately bear fruit.  In short, we want to know what you did and how it led to your legislation, and we also want you to give us a window into your thought process.

After visiting Food Gatherers and seeing how people struggle through food insecurity, which does impact mental illness, we knew that we needed to focus on mental health, but we needed a push on which concentration we wanted to focus on. We spoke to our parents, our siblings, and our friends in order to get a better sense of what we wanted to tackle. After discussing with them, we realized that mental health in schools was an issue very important to us and our community. After the tragic suicide that occured in our community, we knew that we needed to further push for the fight against mental illness. We went to google to look up many statistics, stories, and programs of schools around the country. Some fascinating things we found included-- According to this article about mental health facts in Michigan, 37% of Michigan high school students felt sad or hopeless almost everyday for 2 or more weeks in a row. This lead to students abandoning some after schools activities they would normally do. Additionally, this article stated "as is generally accepted, the earlier that mental health services are implemented, the greater long-term outcome of mental health is for children. Treating students early can prevent further disability and additional (co-occurring) mental illness, among other challenges."


Author contributions:

Please delineate--in detail--who made what contributions to the process and to the finished proposal? Who took on which responsibilities in researching ideas, drafting language, etc.? 

Guidance counselor Mrs. Candy Bodner, Social Worker and Mother of three Sharon Botter, and Jordan, a senior in high school all contributed to our process and proposal. We got to see a perspective from every point of our issue—a guidance counselor’s viewpoint, a mother’s viewpoint, the teenagers’ viewpoint, and the social worker's viewpoint. All of this advice has helped us shape our overall argument. We split up our interview process, as well as our research process. We are a very collaborative team and work together efficiently!



The sections below should comprise your final proposal language, submitted for consideration by your peers and potential inclusion in the MSC Platform.

Preambulatory clauses

These set up the PROBLEM, but not the solution.

Combatting Mental Illness for High School Students.

WHEREAS...."37% Percent of high school students in Michigan who report they felt sad or hopeless almost every day for 2 or more weeks in a row so that they stopped doing some usual activities."

WHEREAS...."1 in 5 children and youth have a diagnosable emotional, behavioral or mental health disorder and 1 in 10 young people have a mental health challenge that is severe enough to impair how they function at home, school or in the community."

WHEREAS...."many estimates show that even though mental illness affects so many of our kids aged 6-17 at least one-half and many estimate as many as 80% of them do not receive the mental health care they need."


Operative clauses

These describe in detail, the solution you are proposing (not the problem itself; those should go in the "Whereas" clauses above).


1. This program will help teachers, students, and coaches communicate so that they don't get penalised for missing after school activites because of their mental health.

2. This program will train social workers, teachers, and guidance counselors on how to work with these individuals who experience these types of emotional, behavioral, and mental health disorders. As well as, help these individuals learn skills on how to control or think about their mental health. 

3. To implement this in school program so students who can't afford mental health care facilities, or don't feel comfortable talking to their parents about their mental health get the help they need. 

(Add more "Resolved" clauses if necessary.)


What are three reasonable arguments against this proposal?

1.  There is not enough money in the school budget for this program regarding teens struggling with mental health illness to exist. Many communities in Michigan are underprivileged and not enough money is allocated to the school districts in these areas. Therefore, these schools in Michigan will not be able to implement this program. 

2. Most students need to talk to people they are very familiar with, so even if this program is implemented, many students would be afraid confront their issues and attend this program. 

3. In some low-income communities, many of the families are broken. This can impact the student's desire to attend the program if they are not getting the support they need at home. Additionally, because there is little parental support, this can impact the relationship between the guidance counselor and the parents.

Costs and funding:

What will your proposal cost (in direct expenses, lost tax revenue, lost economic opportunity, and/or non-monetary costs)? How will you pay for your proposed legislation? Where will/could the funding for your proposal come from?  Who might object to dedicating resources to your proposal (competing interests)?  

For our program, there will be costly measures due to the fact that schools need to hire guidance counselors and/or social workers. If the one-on-one meetings are worked into the guidance counselor’s schedules, it should not be too expensive, as they should be required to meet with their students at least once a semester. There will be a non-monetary cost of training the teachers and guidance counselors to work together and make the school a better place. 

Since, nationally guidance counselors make around 50k a year, this program will help schools set aside money for these new employees. Though this may increase taxes for people in the community, we think that the benefit outweighs the costs. We hope to target 3-4 school districts who have the money to afford guidance counselors with sufficient training to track students—we hope to see the results of this 5-year flight program. For example, starting with incoming freshman classes and seeing their progress until they graduate. 


These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.,4615,7-140-74638_53593---,00.html


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