This past week, Virginia state senators have passed a bill that would require public colleges to create policies on parental notification if their children show “suicidal tendencies,” unless a mental-health professional states that alerting parents would cause harm. As a William & Mary student involved in mental health activism, as an Asian-American who comes from a family that stigmatizes mental illness, and as a human who values his autonomy, I write this post to demonstrate just how much this bill disturbs me. I aim to prove that we need to treat and discuss mental health with the attention and nuance it deserves, instead of assuming that we can cure the complexities of the human brain with shallow, inefficient legislation.
I understand that these senators have good intentions; I get that they want to do something to prevent school shootings, to help people who suffer from mental illness. But they – as well as everyone else involved in this conversation – need to realize that introducing family into the equation will not aid students. Continue reading