cartoon image of students talking about a test that made them depressed next to someone who is really depressed.

Depression Isn’t Trendy

It is 2020 and we live in a society where fitting in is everything. Anything from which table one sits at during lunch to what one’s weekend activities were can often be a determinant of social status. Unfortunately, more and more often, to be ‘broken,’ to suffer from a mental disease like depression or anxiety, is to be unique or interesting.  The truth is some people really do suffer from these issues and that’s why it’s so unfortunate when seemingly everyone around them wants to “kill themselves,” after the latest math test.

In high school, people are trying to discover who they really are while dealing with the stress of schoolwork, sports, extracurricular activities, home life, post high school plans, and a variety of other hassles that can be classified as “stressors.”  One of the most important skills learned in high school that is critical to success in work, family, and other endeavors is the ability to deal with stress. Whether it be lifting weights or writing poetry or taking a small nap, everyone must discover what their “de-stressor” is.  In a perfect society, everyone would be able to deal with their stress, but reality is far from perfect.  

36 percent of highschoolers develop mental diseases over their four years.  This is real and is an issue in need of a solution. But what is even more detrimental to the stigma around school–related stress, are those who embellish mental disorders.  Kids will experience a minor inconvenience and automatically claim they have depression or want to commit suicide. Their parents will take away their car keys, as a valid method of discipline, and they will claim that their loving, providing parents hate them.  This is truly inappropriate behavior when there are kids that actually have these mental disorders and are forced to listen to this attention-seeking, or kids with neglectful parents who must listen to unhappy spoiled kids. 

We must veer away from the embellishing of minor inconveniences as there are kids who are suffering from the conditions so many lightly claim to have.  High schoolers must develop better ways to deal with the normal stress that comes with being a student. Most importantly, high schoolers need to develop their mental toughness.  It’s okay to be unhappy, but regular sadness isn’t a continual state of depression. There’s a reason why today’s grownups say we’re all snowflakes. Let’s prove them wrong! Let’s help the ones that are suffering by avoiding perpetuating messaging of self-hate and unhappiness. Let’s help by having serious conversations about friends we are concerned about.  Let’s avoid normalizing everyone being mentally diseased. Depression should not be trendy.

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