By: TAYLOR LAMBERT
Mental illness in youth is a growing problem today. While it has gotten more publicity recently, it’s still not as widely talked about as it should be. Some mental illnesses that plague today’s youth are depression, anxiety, ADHD/ADD, suicidal , bipolar depression, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and psychosis. All of these and more, less common, illnesses drag more youth down than many think. Most kids don’t feel comfortable asking for or don’t have access to help. Many revert to self medication and suffering in silence, which only causes more problems and leads to greater issues. Mental illness is one of the leading reasons why we, as kids, end up taking drugs and drinking alcohol, the other reason is because we seek out rebellion and good times.
It’s been reported that 46% of Americans will be diagnosed with a mental health condition sometime in their life, and half of them will develop their disorders by 14. 13% of youth (12-17 years old) suffer from depression and 9% suffer from severe depression. Along with depression, anxiety is currently the most common form of mental illness in America overall.
The thing is, mental illness is more than just statistics and tests. Its real life, its emotion, its damaging, and its serious. As much as people talk about mental health and the effects it has on society not much is being done about it. People see mental illness as a separate part of society. Something non-physical, and as long as its out of sight is out of mind. Mental health is a very serious issue, and it is the baseline for all things. In our society you can’t go through your day without hearing at least one of your peers saying they’re going to kill themselves. Jokes or not, comments and phrases such as that have become popularized and I can guarantee almost everyone at Benicia High has said it at least once. Suicide, depression, and anxiety are made comical unless you’re the one enduring it. You hear kids screaming from across the quad that they’re going to kill themselves at the slightest inconvenience, and it’s a deep rooted habit that needs to be ditched. What people don’t understand is that the effect their words have on others can be catastrophic.