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Avoid mentioning mental health issues on Application?

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OutwardDragon

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I'm filling out the supplementary application to Nebraska and they ask, "Please describe the most challenging situation or obstacle you have had to overcome." I've had some minor challenges I could talk about, but struggling on/off with depression and anxiety has easily been the biggest challenge/obstacle in my life.

Would describing this in terms that (hopefully) wouldn't raise red flags be ok? Or is it best to avoid mentioning this and scrap together a lower quality essay on something more "mainstream" or less risky?
 

dent_wannabe

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If you had an official diagnosis and are actively seeking treatment, I don't see anything wrong with mentioning it. The point is more what did you do about it rather than what happened.
 

aggie-master

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I would leave it out.

Dental school causes anxiety and depression for a number of people including me but they might be worried that you are not going to be able to handle the pressure of dental school.

Don’t show them anything they might perceive to be weakness.
 
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wittledentist

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I would leave it out. I think they are looking for something you overcame completely. It seems like you're still dealing with those problems so you haven't really overcome them yet.
 

Jlm50

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I would leave it off because you dont want to put the seed of doubt whether or not you're able to handle the stress of school.

I'm attending UNE and they sent me an email today listing general requirements that I'm agreeing to by attending and this is one of them:

"A student must possess the emotional health required for full use of his or her intellectual skills, the exercise of good judgment, the prompt
completion of all responsibilities attendant to the diagnosis and care of patients, and the development of mature, sensitive, and effective relationships with patients. A student must be able to endure physically-taxing workloads and to function effectively under stress. He or she must be able to adapt to changing environments, display flexibility, and learn to function in the face of uncertainties inherent in the clinical problems of patients. Compassion, integrity, concern for others, interpersonal skills, interests, and motivations are all personal qualities that will be assessed during the admissions and educational processes. A student must be able to manage apprehensive patients with a range of moods and behaviors in a tactful, congenial, personal manner so as not to alienate or antagonize them. A student must be able to interrelate among colleagues, staff, and patients with honesty, integrity, respect, and nondiscrimination."
 

OutwardDragon

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I just recently sought out help because I know it's something I should try to manage before starting dental school.

I definitely agree that it'd be seen as a weakness & could really only be used against me, so I'll just pick something else.
 

Pablo Sanchez

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I'm filling out the supplementary application to Nebraska and they ask, "Please describe the most challenging situation or obstacle you have had to overcome." I've had some minor challenges I could talk about, but struggling on/off with depression and anxiety has easily been the biggest challenge/obstacle in my life.

Would describing this in terms that (hopefully) wouldn't raise red flags be ok? Or is it best to avoid mentioning this and scrap together a lower quality essay on something more "mainstream" or less risky?

I admittedly do not have experience with this, and I see the arguments on both sides, but the argument does exist that if you feel that your struggle with depression and anxiety has had a significant influence on who you are at your core, why not write about it? Discussing your struggles makes a few things apparent to me:

1) You are honest.
2) You are self-aware.
3) You can provide support for potential patients who have experienced similar struggles.

If you do decide to go in this direction, I would probably recommend making it clear that you are confident in your ability to fight your fight while remaining committed to a rigorous dental curriculum.

Once again, I know nothing and this is just an alternative viewpoint, but I hope it helps.

Good luck!
 
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Jlm50

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I just recently sought out help because I know it's something I should try to manage before starting dental school.

I definitely agree that it'd be seen as a weakness & could really only be used against me, so I'll just pick something else.

Just for clarification- I dont think this is a weakness. Kudos to you for seeking the help that many people are too afraid to. It's just a risk of what mindset admissions would have.
 

caffeine jitters

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I admittedly do not have experience with this, and I see the arguments on both sides, but the argument does exist that if you feel that your struggle with depression and anxiety has had a significant influence on who you are at your core, why not write about it? Discussing your struggles makes a few things apparent to me:

1) You are honest.
2) You are self-aware.
3) You can provide support for potential patients who have experienced similar struggles.

If you do decide to go in this direction, I would probably recommend making it clear that you are confident in your ability to fight your fight while remaining committed to a rigorous dental curriculum.

Once again, I know nothing and this is just an alternative viewpoint, but I hope it helps.

Good luck!
I agree with where you're coming from; however, I feel those arguments are just as valid even if the OP chooses not to write about his/her depression and anxiety. The school doesn't need to know about an experience for it to be a valid one, and in this case, I feel the framework is too risky because of the unfortunate societal stigma surrounding mental health.

OP, I would leave it out if I were in your shoes. Best of luck this application cycle, and I wish you nothing but the best :)
 
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Pablo Sanchez

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I agree with where you're coming from; however, I feel those arguments are just as valid even if the OP chooses not to write about his/her depression and anxiety. The school doesn't need to know about an experience for it to be a valid one, and in this case, I feel the framework is too risky because of the unfortunate societal stigma surrounding mental health.

OP, I would leave it out if I were in your shoes. Best of luck this application cycle, and I wish you nothing but the best :)

You are right, those arguments remain whether the OP discloses their struggle or not. I was just looking at it from the perspective of if I were in the position of the adcom. The OP's honesty, self-awareness, and potential to help other patients might reflect as a positive reason to accept the OP into our school. If the OP does not write about their struggle, there is no way for me as a hypothetical adcom member to know that they are honest, self-aware, etc. Or not. What do I know?

It is a difficult subject because there is an unfortunate stigma with mental illness, but I think honesty can go a long way. Schools want to find students who are a good fit for their program. Likewise, students want to find schools that have an environment suitable for their growth.
 

Don Kim

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It's one of those things that is very admirable if someone has succeeded despite their past struggle with depression/anxiety, and it still is very admirable for you to be able to get the credentials you have to be able to apply to dental school despite your mental health struggles. It can sound empowering to others when talked about for sure. However, imo if the faculty were to be honest, they would likely prefer an applicant with no history of diagnosed mental illness, as someone who has struggled before statistically has a much higher potential to struggle again in an extremely stressful environment that is dental school. No one fully gets over depression/anxiety if one has, one just learns how to better deal with it to minimize it's influence, and I am sure that the admissions know that as well. It's a tricky situation because the admissions want to applaud you for overcoming your struggles, but deep down they likely prefer not to risk the chance that you might fall into depression again from stress. Also, a good amount of applicants talk about their mental illness struggles and make the overcoming of that a key point in their personal statement or a response to a prompt in the application. And thus, I think this type of response is also weak on the basis that it is no longer uncommon. That is my take.
 
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