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Why More Depressed Teens Don’t Seek Help

Teenagers today self cope with depression without knowing its harmful

Alejandro Gonzales

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Current culture is toxic for depressed teenagers. It somehow simultaneously stigmatizes and glorifies mental illness. To understand how such a thing is possible, it is necessary to first understand how teens spend their time.

Statistics have proven that a significant population of teens are addicted to their devices. Much of that time is spent on social media apps such as Instagram and Snapchat. These provide the option of remaining unknown to other users, making bullies more confident and harsh in their digital attacks. On the other hand, it opens up the opportunity for depressed students to find communities made up of similarly depressed individuals.

Cyber bullies aren’t usually a cause of depression, but they do tend to be a factor in making it worse by validating negative thoughts the individual may have about themself.

A student who doesn’t suffer from mental illness will either remain unaffected or retaliate with an insult of their own. A teen suffering from depression may take such a line to heart and fall further into their state of emotional instability. It isn’t likely they’ll commit suicide solely based on the remark, but it will be in their heads when something else confirms what they already believe about themselves.   

Other students are unlikely to take fellow students seriously who confront them with their issues. In some cases, the friend will dismiss the other as being “emo” or trying too hard to get attention. Wanting to avoid more negative experiences, the individual may refuse to confide in other friends, afraid of being rejected again.

Alternatively, some students may find solace in Instagram accounts with titles such as “Depression Quotes.” Initially, these pages appear appealing because the student may relate to the posts. It serves as a cathartic solution to temporarily ease their loneliness.

This becomes an issue when the teen spends too much time browsing through posts. A pattern of glorifying mental illness arises after a few minutes of scrolling. It is almost as if the owner of the account is posing as being depressed to earn social points.

To the depressed student, the posts say it is okay to be depressed, and to the student who is unafflicted, it says all the cool kids are depressed, just pretend you are and everyone will like you. This unhealthy message reaches a large audience of teens who then have one of three main reactions.

More susceptible teens believe being depressed is normal and they don’t need help, others believe depression is cool, and, in the case of teens who aren’t as easily influenced, some become offended that people aren’t treating depression with the seriousness it deserves.

Until people truly start listening to others when they come to them with their problems and they try to understand how much depression affects its victims, nothing is going to change.

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