Depression has been something that has plagued generations for ages, but the one specific age range and generation it has been shown to be particularly harsh to is teenagers. On average, about 20% of teenagers will suffer from depression before they reach their adult lives. This may seem like a small amount, but in the big scope of things, that is a shockingly large amount of teenagers that will experience the monster of depression before they are let free into the world as adults. According to webmd.com, symptoms that someone you know, or even yourself may be being plagued by this monster of depression include: trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering details, fatigue, feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness, change in sleeping patterns, irritability, restlessness, loss of interest in activities one typically enjoys, change in appetite/eating habits, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Suicide in teens has climbed the charts to become the third-leading cause of death among teenagers who feel hopeless enough to end their own lives.
Teens are sometimes in need of help even if it isn't obvious.
Depression can feel like looking at the world through a black and white filter.
A large problem at hand is how teenagers deal with this issue. Since teens tend to be reclusive and moody frequently, they, as well as their loved ones, often don’t notice when it becomes a larger issue altogether, so they don’t know what to do when the issue is noticed. The issue is often passed off as them just being hormonal or having a “bad attitude.” However, teenagers themselves seem to feel fairly confident that they can handle a situation where a friend is depressed accordingly. In an interview with Chase Diedrich, a senior at PRHS, he said,
“I’ve been able to calm people down and reason with them before, so I think in a serious situation, I could at least help.”
In a separate interview with Anya Veech, a freshman at PRHS, she said,
“I usually try to just let them talk first. I find that a lot of people just need to let stuff out. But I also try to find small things that cheer them up to take their mind off of what is making them unsettled.”
Help can be given by a friend.
Memories of friends can shine through in dark times.
In a survey conducted at PRHS covering about 6.4% of the student population (127 students), 42.9% felt that they could comfort a friend in need somewhat well, and 40.5% said they could comfort a friend very well. Teenagers seem to be quite confident in their abilities to comfort others that have expressed a need for help, but another issue is teenagers being apprehensive to ask for help in the first place. When asked how comfortable they were with talking about teen depression and suicide, 7.1% of the same students said that they were very uncomfortable, 8.7% said somewhat uncomfortable, 35.7% said that they were somewhat comfortable, 23% said that they were comfortable, and 25.4% said they were very comfortable with discussing the topic. Though in general, the students seem to feel decently comfortable with talking about the subject, PRHS does not. While encouraging students to reach out for help when needed, there is only one set day a year that students sit down and are taught about what to do to help someone in need or how to help themselves. The video that is presented to the classes is outdated and traditionally stereotypical to how depression is seen in people, when really it can be an elusive thing that isn’t immediately seen like as presented in the video.
General excuses can hurt a person that is actually suffering. Be careful what you say.
A big influence on this is pop culture, and some people are doing some amazing things to help promote that it’s okay to ask for help, and that your depression doesn’t make you weak. One example of this is Logic, Alessia Cara, and Khalid’s song that discussed the issue of suicide, and provided the number of the national suicide prevention hotline to many that may have needed it. According to variety.com, when the song was released in April of 2017, calls to the hotline spiked and have made a significant increase ever since. The article by Rebecca Rubin on variety.com states,
“Calls are up 33% when compared to 2016, and the organization, which operates nearly 160 crisis hotline centers across the country, is seeing three times the activity on Facebook. Google searches were up 100% in late spring, and have clocked a steady 25% increase since. The NSPL website, which was getting around 300,000 unique visitors a month, has reached over 400,000.”
As seen by these facts, a simple, but extremely meaningful song inspired hundreds of people to seek help in an attempt to better themselves and their lives. Though a teenager cannot reach as many people as this song did, they can still help their close friends or family, and maybe even save a life. No matter if it is 1 life or 1,000, a difference can be made in a society of teens that are cautious to request help. People can touch lives more effectively than they think, it just takes the patience and determination to help.
Comfort your loved ones in need.
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
- Crisis Call Center: 1-800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
- HopeLine: Call/text 919-231-4525 or 1-877-235-4525
- Suicide Prevention Services Depression Hotline: 630-482-9696
- TeenLine (this line operates from 6pm to 10pm Pacific Time every night): (310)-855-4673, (800)-852-8336, Or text TEEN to 839863
- Crisis Text Line: Text HELLO to 741741 or message them at facebook.com/CrisisTextLine to talk with a Crisis Counselor.
Talk to someone if you feel that you or a loved one may be depressed.