Silent Suffering

Calaya Baker, Feature Writer

Mental health is an extremely important subject and it is important that American youth are informed about it. Newport Academy’s research found that major depression in adolescents has risen 63 percent since 2013, 47 percent for boys and 65 percent for girls. There are different levels of depression as some may need medical attention and some may not. Depression affects about 300 million people worldwide.

According to Mauldin High School counselor, Jill Purcell, there’s a difference between having depression and just having general sadness. Depression is an illness in which feelings of despair and grief are elicited for an extended amount of time. People who may be depressed tend to feel withdrawn from things they enjoy, they may want to sleep all day, or they may not be able to sleep at all. Sadness is usually detectable, and you’re able to identify why you’re feeling that way. Whether it’s due to the loss of a family member, or even just dropping an ice cream cone, you can typically cheer yourself up from it.  Depression leaves you with feelings of sadness where you may not be able to find a reason for your sadness. The sadness lingers, and anything that would normally lift your spirits stop doing so. You become apathetic towards everything.

Everyone copes in their own way, but some ways of coping may be harmful. For example, self harm or any kinds of substance abuse would be harmful coping mechanism. Self sabotage (food restrictions or sleep restrictions) would be considered a harmful coping mechanism. Helpful coping mechanisms would include keeping a journal, sticking to a daily routine, involving yourself in activities regularly (as feelings of despondency may occur), and seeing a therapist.

Ms. Purcell and I discussed the stigma around therapy. “People think that going to a therapist means that something is wrong with you, but anyone could benefit from seeing a therapist, because anyone could want to improve themselves and understand who they are,” Purcell said. It’s completely okay to need help but many feel hesitant to reach it. “People don’t want to admit when they need help. They don’t want to admit something is wrong, even when it’s completely okay to need assistance,”  Purcell adds.

If you need someone to speak with, you can go to your guidance counselor, or any trusted adult, whether that is a parent family friend, grandparent, etc. In addition, Mauldin has a mental health counselor, Ms. Golson. If you feel that you may be in any danger with suicidal thoughts and might hurt yourself, it is strongly recommended that you contact a hotline or call emergency authorities. There are people to help and they will be there to support you. You are not alone.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Mauldin High Mental Health Counselor: [email protected]