Scenario: Depression and anxiety among teens and adolescents has doubled over the last 30 years with concrete implications for sufferers, including likelihood to graduate high school, lifelong success and happiness, and even their likelihood for committing suicide. You are part of an inter-agency governmental consortium deciding how to best allocate resources to address this problem. At the end of a three-day conference you have heard from several organizations making suggestions. You have been called upon, in your capacity as a sociologist, to issue a report of your suggestions based upon the conference proceedings. Although a sociologist by training, your opinions are your own. Using the NAMI fact sheet, the ABC News article (see Canvas), and the presentations described below, please write a 4-5 page paper as follows below.
Substance – Paper Organization: You should have an introductory paragraph that tells the reader what you propose to do in the report, why you are doing it, and tell us what you will eventually suggest. For the rest of the paper you should do three things:
Explain House’s “supply-side” healthy policy approach, giving at least two examples from the presentations below with an explanation as to why they qualify as such;
Explain the “demand-side” policy approach, giving at least two examples from the presentations below including an explanation as to why they qualify as such; and
- Make a suggestion to policymakers on how to address this problem. Explain whether your suggestion follows the supply-side approach, the demand-side approach, or some combination thereof. Justify your suggestion with a reflection on your own social values (e.g. personal freedom, equal access, or short- versus long-term solutions, among others).
- You may choose to combine no more than TWO suggestions from the organizations below when making your own. You are working in a context of constrained resources that force you to make hard choices. You need not choose the same examples that you used to explain the supply & demand side approaches.
Fictional Presentation Summaries:Biological Solutions Group (BSG): This is a group of neuroscientists, neuro-biologists, and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. They argue that anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication has proven a useful means for treating teen/adolescent depression and anxiety. They have asked for federal funding to both expand education and access regarding anti-depressants. Particularly, they want federal money directed in two ways: 1) increased research on the neural pathologies of depression/anxiety and 2) a federal subsidy for teen access to the five major anti-depressants. This would essentially make anti-depressants free for all minors regardless of their guardian(s)’ ability to pay for them.Economic Disparities Coalition (EDC): This is a multi-disciplinary group of academics with a wide-ranging set of arguments based in economics, public health, and public policy. They argue that we need to address underlying problems like the recent economic downturn, the increase in working hours, the decrease in real wages, and an epidemic of poverty. The have three proposals: 1) reduce the work week to 30 hours, which would increase the number of jobs available, decrease work-related stress, and give people more free time to pursue their interests, 2) expand labor laws to ensure that no one provides unpaid overtime or works at unpaid internships, and 3) expand educational and professional opportunities by establishing federally-mandated tuition caps and by expanding (non-loan) federal scholarships to undergraduates. This, they argue, would give teens and young adults hope for their future.Psychiatric Provider Network (PPN): This group of psychiatric professionals endorses the expansion of therapeutic services for teens and adolescents. In response to BSG, they pointed out that some anti-depressants have actually increased feelings of suicide among teens/adolescents. They have two suggestions: 1) a marketing campaign to increase awareness of depression and anxiety among parents and children, 2) a federal requirement that non-pharmaceutical therapies be covered by all insurance plans, and 3) a federal subsidy for therapeutic services among those living below the poverty level.