PAUSD student services coordinator Brenda Carrillo's views were mentioned towards the end of the story:
"Brenda Carrillo...said it's important not to blame academic pressure for depression. 'A mental health condition doesn't necessarily come from high expectations,' she said."
This topic has concerned our Palo Alto community for years now. Surely, the current academic pressures, which can be intense for many students, contribute significantly to the emotional stresses students experience, and in some cases (perhaps many) increase the likelihood of depression and anxiety. Can the link between the growing academic pressures and the growing mental health problems be denied? The Mercury story suggests otherwise. Is there an important -- and perhaps nuanced -- connection between the incessant push for academic excellence and the increasing mental health problems that we ought to be examining more closely? Fixing "blame" is not really the issue; facing the reality of the contributing factors, and working on the sources of stress that seem to be preventing healthy development in so many students is more important. Do current levels of academic pressures harm our children's mental health? If so, how? And what can we do about it? These are good questions to be asking ourselves.