A fast growing issue among teens: depression

Karla Cardenas, Reporter

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Having insecurities and a lack of confidence is an issue that many teens face nowadays. The comparison to celebrities, the fear of failure, and the ongoing pressures that come with being young can become a crippling barrier to success. Such issues not only affect teens at the moment, but also in the long term.

According to statistics made by Mental Health America, 7.4% (or 1.8 billion) of youth (ages 12-17)  experienced severe depressive symptoms in 2016 while 11% reported to be suffering from depression. Having extreme or severe depression is often times characterized by persistent feelings of sadness accompanied by suicidal thoughts, fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness. Not only does this affect a young person’s ability to continue on with daily tasks,  but the ability to live a normal life.

Self-esteem among teenagers is made up of several components and affected by many factors. Not only is it affected by risks taken, accomplishments made, and feelings of productivity, but also by the people around. Often times, teenagers don’t have strong communication with their family members or close friends and therefore a sense of identity isn’t constructed within the family or friendship group. Getting involved and obtaining opportunities can increase a sense of belonging and a sense of worth among others.

Communicating with others about one’s feelings isn’t always an easy thing to do, especially when the lives of the people around us are so hectic, but isolation is a leading factor in emotional problems. Talking about one’s struggles, feelings, and fears can create a sense of worthiness and calmness. Not only will one get those words out of one’s chest, but the burden that heavily weighed on one’s shoulder will be lifted.

“I think that mental health in teenagers is worsening. From what I see around me and from what I hear, most of it is probably caused by relationships and misunderstanding due to the lack of face to face communication, for nowadays it’s easier to text then it is to talk,” sophomore Faye Lodge said. 

Regardless of the high level of those suffering from depression, 64.1% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment according to the statistics made by Mental Health America.

Although there are many programs and help out there for depression, many people don’t realize that there’s a variety of options that are easily accessible. It may be hard and to some extent difficult, but the first step one must take to feel better is to seek help. Some treatments include medication, talk therapy, as well as physical activity or assisting counseling groups.

Aside from those sources of help, there’s a variety of websites and online programs that can provide information on different treatment options and methods. Some good online sources that provide a variety of information regarding depression include Psychology Today and Anxiety and Depression Association for America.

“I personally know a lot of people that have struggled with depression and low self-esteem. I think that there are many reasons that lead to that, including the feeling of not being enough. Some people try to ignore their feelings, but in doing so it worsens how they feel about themselves. I think that the best thing people can do is search for help,” sophomore Neftali Prieto said.

The negative point of view associated with mental illness often times prevents many from seeking help, but the reality is that there are millions of people who, regardless of ethnicity, gender, or age, are trapped by the diabolic claws of depression.

Life isn’t always easy and every day consists of a new battle, but having the courage to get up and fight for a better day is what one should do. While giving up seems easier than having to struggle, easier times will come. Having a positive mindset, educating one’s self, eating healthy, exercising, and enjoying the little things in life can help one’s suffocating problems seem less terrifying.

There’s no need to be ashamed of one’s feelings or emotions. There are many counselors, teachers, and staff members that would be more than happy to listen and help. Seeking counseling for depression and recognizing that it’s an issue that can’t be faced alone is the first step towards recovery.

If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (open 24/7): 1-800-273-8255.

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