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‘How Are You?’; An Age-Old Question That Could be Debilitating Teens Everywhere

How much do you know about teenage depression? Take the quiz to find out.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/7F59RKN/

1 in 5 teenagers struggle with depression – chances are you, or someone you know suffers from some form of depression. (Admin.)

How are you? The question is asked millions of times on a daily basis. It’s become so popular that the phrase is sometimes a substitute for “Hi” or “Hello”. The question is so ingrained in our society that an answer isn’t even necessary. But, when an answer is prodded, a typical response is “Good” or “Fine”, even if the person is having the worst day of their life. People feel uncomfortable when “real” feelings are announced like, “Not very good, actually. I’ve been suffering from depression lately”, and they would automatically be turned off. Teenagers encounter this issue every single day. Pushed in all directions from societal pressures,  familial expectations, the stress of school, and millions of other things, it’s no wonder suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-24 (Admin.). Due to these unrealistic expectations teenagers are taught to reach, teenagers are more susceptible to depression than adults (Young). But teenagers are pretty good at hiding their emotions, so it wouldn’t seem like it, right? That’s because some teenagers shy away from sharing their issues with friends and family for fear of judgment. There is an unnecessary stigma surrounding depression, specifically among teenagers. But where does it come from and how can we combat it?

Empathize with depression.

Talking to Someone can help:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqOzFc9hz4g

Talking to someone can help.

-only 30% of teenagers are being treated for their depression (Admin.)

5x more teens in high school & college today have mental health issues than the youth during the Great Depression (Admin.)

80% of teens can be treated successfully if they seek help (Admin.)

I would know…

Feelings of hopelessness is a sign of depression.

What even is STIGMA?

Stigma is a preconceived, negative notion attached to a particular person, thing, or quality. In terms of mental illness, there is a lot of stigma. Some people not suffering from a mental illness don’t quite understand what’s going on with those who do and thus can be judgmental and stereotypical toward the idea of mental illnesses and consequently those suffering from them. Sometimes this can lead the person to treat someone with a mental illness differently, in a negative way for fear that they are dangerous or “crazy”(The Stigma of Mental Illness is Making Us Sicker). Most of the time, though, the person stigmatizing is uninformed and not sufficiently educated about mental illnesses. A majority of the time, when teens suffer from depression, their peers, parents, and adults don’t notice the beginning signs. The problem with teenagers is that they’re often viewed as moody, and parents will say “Oh, he’s just being a teenager” when, in reality, he is suffering from a very real mental issue. Psychology Today states that stigma is the, “biggest barrier to mental health care” in the modern world. This stigma can cause people with mental illnesses to be socially isolated, or even not share their true feelings, further worsening their symptoms.

How to reverse it?

The main thing you can do is talk (Nami). Talk about depression. Talk about therapy. Talk about seeking help. Talk to your friends, your parents, your friends’ parents, anyone – just spread awareness and make depression a less taboo topic. Another thing you can do is offer compassion and empathy to those suffering. Don’t be judgmental, but rather listen to them and offer a hug or an, “I’m here for you”. If you suffer from a mental illness, you can help fight stigma too by refusing to let other’s opinions change the way you carry yourself.

Give Encouraging Words of Wisdom!

Since I am not very tech-savvy and can’t figure out how to make an online forum…add a Post-It to my wall of inspiration! Email me at 19TYLERL@episcopalhighschool.org or leave a comment below with your encouraging words, or anything you want others to hear, and I’ll put it on a pretty sticky note and hang it up with all of the others. I’ll update this page each day with everybody’s beautiful words, which hopefully inspires those struggling to keep pushing forward and also adds pretty decorations to my wall! Look at what we have so far below…

Now, how much do you know about teenage depression, after reading the information? Take the quiz.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XJCZQS3

If you, or someone you know, is wrestling with suicidal thoughts or depression, use the helpline:
https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Bibliography:

Admin, Author. “Teenage Depression.” Teen Depression, www.teendepression.org/info/teenage-depression/.

Admin. “Why Today’s Teens Are More Depressed Than Ever.” Center For Discovery, Center For Discovery, 24 Sept. 2018, centerfordiscovery.com/blog/todays-teens-depressed-ever/.

Monroe, Jamison. “Teen Depression – Treatment.” Newport Academy, Newport Academy, 25 June 2018, www.newportacademy.com/treatment/teen-depression/.

“NAMI.” Home, www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/October-2017/9-Ways-to-Fight-Mental-Health-Stigma.

“The Stigma of Mental Illness Is Making Us Sicker.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/brick-brick/201405/the-stigma-mental-illness-is-making-us-sicker.

“Understanding Stigma.” Teen Mental Health, teenmentalhealth.org/live/understanding-stigma/.

Young, Karen. “Teens and Depression – Why Teens Are More Vulnerable, and the Risk Factors Parents Need to Know About.” Teens and Depression – Why Teens Are More Vulnerable, and the Risk Factors Parents Need to Know About –, 25 Apr. 2017, www.heysigmund.com/teens-and-depression-risk/.


Share this project
COMMENTS: 19
  1. April 25, 2019 by Heather .Hersey

    Hi Logan, thank you for sharing your story! My encouraging words of wisdom would be: “I care and I’ll listen.” I have a tendency to talk too much especially when there is a long silence, but I commit to listening more and being present more. Do you plan to share this with people at your school?

  2. April 25, 2019 by Addie Anderson

    Hi Logan, this is awesome! My encouraging words would be: “Healing isn’t about changing who you are, it’s about changing your relationship with who you are.” I agree that talking is a really great way to end the stigma of mental illness – especially just talking with the community at large, not just those with the mental illness. Making it a non-taboo topic is the key to making mental health more widely understood.

  3. April 26, 2019 by E B

    Hi, thanks for bringing up this important issue. Depression can come up from so many different experiences, and we all experience it differently. Thank you for being so open about your own experiences, and you have the capabilities to overcome, you just need to find the right group of people to help you.

  4. April 26, 2019 by logan

    Hi! I love your encouraging words! It’s in the works right now to share some form of information to my classmates about the stigma surrounding teenage depression.

  5. April 26, 2019 by Vedica.Chopra

    Hi Logan! I think it’s really brave that you shared your story. I actually did my presentation on a very similar topic and the stigma really seems to be a huge issue. I also deal with depression, and I’ve gotten help for it, but it was under extreme circumstances and I really wish I didn’t wait so long. The reason I waited was because my friends would tell me I didn’t have enough problems to be depressed and my parents didn’t believe in it at first. I like your idea of just talking about it and making it less of a taboo. Even now, I’m a lot more comfortable with myself but I notice that everyone gets really hushed whenever someone even mentions therapy or antidepressants. I’ve always wondered why that was treated so differently than something like going to an eye doctor. I love how you presented from a personal and relatable angle, good job! I’ll do the e-mail too 🙂

    • April 27, 2019 by Logan.Tyler

      Thanks for checking out my page! That’s so amazing that you were able to get help for your depression. I experienced similar issues in terms of getting help, so I totally understand how you feel. We can help other people get help by destigmatizing depression – one conversation at a time!

  6. April 27, 2019 by Rachel.Dulski

    Logan, thank you so much for sharing your story. I do agree we have to reverse the stigma around mental health. What are some steps we could take to do that? Also, I had a question about the first video “This is what depression feels like.” I didn’t understand exactly what the video was expressing. What are your insights?

    • April 27, 2019 by Logan.Tyler

      Thanks for your comment, Rachel! One thing you can do to help reverse the stigma surrounding mental health is to talk openly about it with friends and family and basically anyone in an effort to make it a less taboo topic in conversation.

  7. April 28, 2019 by Jane

    Logan, you put together a really amazing project. Thank you so much for sharing your story! I also researched the stigma surrounding depression for me project, and you are so right about the fact that it needs to end. People need to feel comfortable enough to seek help and to be able to not be ashamed about their depression. If the stigma surrounding depression was decreased, the positive effects would be profound, and I agree with you that the best way to do this is through talking and creating conversation.

    • April 29, 2019 by logan

      Thank you so much! You’re exactly right. I’m glad we could both research the topic so we can help make people more informed!

  8. April 29, 2019 by Lauren.Elvrum

    Hi Logan! I really appreciate your page and you sharing your story. Addressing stigma surrounding mental health is hugely important, and I’m so glad your project addresses this!

  9. April 29, 2019 by Siena.Martin

    Logan, I appreciate you doing your project on this very taboo topic. Everything was laid out really clearly and that made it easy to understand. I see mental health issues every day in my school community but I never realized how critical the situation really was. You are so brave for sharing your story and I can say I know exactly how you feel. I wish schools would be doing more to help students out. Overall, wonderful job!

  10. April 30, 2019 by Leona.Das

    Logan, this project is so important! Thank you for taking the time to address such a prevalent issue–I didn’t know that this was such a widespread problem. I also loved how you included videos to really drive this home, as well as a FANTASTIC section on how to reverse it. I will definitely be taking advice from that section when interacting with my peers in the future. Thank you!

  11. April 30, 2019 by Ashli.Jain

    Hi Logan, this is a wonderful topic and project. I found the quiz about teenage depression very effective as it taught me that I do not know as much as I would like to think I do. In particular, I found the statistic that “80% of teens could be treated successfully if they receive help” shocking because it highlights the detrimental effect of the stigma. If those teens all got help, depression in teens would negatively skyrocket! Have you seen instances of the post-it notes being effective?

  12. April 30, 2019 by Taylor.Hurt

    Thank you so much for being vulnerable and sharing this Logan. As someone who has anxiety, I definitely can relate to the weight of stigma and how hard it is to go to someone for help. It’s so important that everyone knows that talking to someone makes things so so so much better!

  13. April 30, 2019 by Maya

    Hi Logan, I really appreciated how vulnerable you were and sharing your story. This topic is so important and needs to be talked about more. I thought that having the quiz at the beginning was really impactful. i thought I knew a lot more than I did. Thank you!

  14. May 01, 2019 by Francis.Davis

    Hi Logan,
    wow. It’s really important (I think) to tackle the issue of mental health from a societal and stigma perspective. Great work!

  15. May 03, 2019 by Mia Crum

    Hey Logan!
    I really liked the videos you included in your presentation, I felt like they helped make your topic feel more real and made me feel like there was something I could do to help. There are people in my life who have depression, one of which took antidepressants for a while, so reading about this really hit home for me. What are some ways you plan on reducing the stigma in your community?

  16. May 05, 2019 by Hana.Himura

    Hi Logan,
    I really liked how you addressed this very important issue through sharing your own experience as well as the fantastic videos that helped deepen the information. I also found the quiz at the beginning of the page helpful for understanding more about how serious this issue is in our society.

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