Teen Depression and Suicide

How Society Impacts Mental Health

Ava+Staples%2C+9%2C+representing+how+teens+with+depression+feel+like+they+have+to+%22wear%22+a+smile+to+hide+their+true+feelings.

Joelin Linonge

Ava Staples, 9, representing how teens with depression feel like they have to "wear" a smile to hide their true feelings.

As the years go by, depression in adolescents is becoming more and more prevalent.

According to Medicinenet.com, “Depression affects about 20% of adolescents by the time they become adults.”

There are many factors that contribute to poor mental health, especially in teens. Stress from school and/or work, body image problems, having trouble fitting in, and feeling like no one understands them are all possible causes. Many teens also feel ashamed or embarrassed and are told to “be strong” “or fight through it,” which makes people afraid to speak on it.

Hailey Merriweather, 9, said, “I think it’s a mixture of people not talking about the issues that they are going through, and also just the stigma that you’re not supposed to talk about it. I think a lot of people feel the same things, but we’re told it’s a shameful thing. I think a lot of it could be fixed with just talking through it and knowing you’re not alone”.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “It is now recommended [to have] regular depression screening[s] for all adolescents 12 and over, given that the symptoms of depression are often missed by parents, teachers, and even doctors.”

Merriweather said, “I also think that if parents did a better job of telling kids it’s not shameful thing, it would make it easier for schools to actually implement mental health related things.”

If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression or having suicidal thoughts, please tell someone and get help, or call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicicde Prevention Lifeline.