STUDENT VOICES: Depression Among Teenagers | Opinion | #socialmedia | #children

According to a study done by UCLA Health, twenty percent of all high school students say they have seriously considered suicide. These numbers have been going up for years and show no sign of slowing down. One can see this being the effect of a few different things. However, it can be concluded that there are three main issues that are causing this increase: the social media era, a lack of strong role models, and school.

In our contemporary society, we have almost unlimited access to the internet. In this era, teenagers believe that they have to give their opinion through every single outlet available to them. Unfortunately, their posts won’t do so great all the time, or people will tell them that they don’t care what they have to say. This can be extremely detrimental to their mental health. Another thing that can demoralize teens is the fact that everyone portrays their life as perfect. When one believes everyone around them is doing great, it becomes hard not to start comparing and feeling discouraged.

Next, is a problem that stems from the previous generation. There are many kids in life without a role model to guide them and let them know what is right and wrong. There are lots of adults that are on drugs or simply absent in their child’s life which is not an ideal example to set for their young, impressionable children. However, if that is the only form of guidance presented to them they are more likely to follow that path. In fact, between all of my closest friends we all have at least one step parent, or missing parent altogether. The lack of guidance will often lead teens to use drugs to cope with these issues. Because drug abuse only suppresses the symptoms rather than fixing the issue causing the symptoms, this can make them even more sad.
The most intriguing cause of depression is school. I never really felt like school has made me that sad, yet out of every single student I interviewed all but one of them said school was the reason they felt so awful. The main issue with school is the fact that there is so much to worry about all at once, and it interferes with your personal life. Most students will be given an AR book, homework, be on a sports team or club, have a job, have chores/responsibilities at home, want free time, and still be expected to be awake and doing great in school. This is simply unrealistic. I’ve always hated the stereotype that football players are dumb; they aren’t really dumb they just don’t have time to focus on their education as much as some people. Then they want to take our only safe escapes from reality, such as not letting us listen to music or open our phones. In addition to this, recent school rules have made school feel more like a prison than a place for students to get a valuable education. From what I’ve gathered most teachers don’t even fully agree with how things are being run, yet they look like the villains when enforcing these arbitrary rules.

In summary, the social media era, lack of strong role models, and school are the three main reasons why teenagers seem so miserable. These things cause a lot of stress, and some people do not have others around them for reassurance. This is hindering the transition to adulthood, and seems to be seriously affecting lives.

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