Mental illness in teens | Letter

Who here enjoys high school, Secondary Academy for Success aside? Of course you don’t because look where you are. You’ve been enrolled in an alternative school because you were “unfit” for the big schools.

Everyone has their own reasons why they came here, but for the most part it was because you were mistreated. Being mistreated, bullied or ostracized can lead to people feeling depressed. Newport Academy states that “an estimated 3.1 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in the United States had at least one major depressive episode in 2016. This number represents 12.8 percent of the U.S. population in that age group.”

Today I’m going to talk to you about mental health, focusing mostly on depression and my experience with it in high school.

The reason why this is such a big deal is because the only purpose why you go to school is to get your credit, your diploma and get the hell out of there. But things get in the way like people. People can be so mean, especially in high school. When I was at Bothell High School, I would sit in the bathroom alone during lunch because not only did I get bullied by students but by the teachers too. I would sit in the back stall and cry all lunch period.

Everyone at this school should be able to stay in the big schools, have decent relationships like everyone else, and be able to graduate on time. Granted there are resources for people that are struggling with depression. There’s the suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), therapists, support groups, etc. But when someone is depressed, they aren’t always looking for help and won’t make the first steps.

According to teenmentalhealth.org, “The statistics are staggering, 1 in 5 young people suffer from a mental illness, that’s 20 percent of our population but yet only about 4 percent of the total health care budget is spent on our mental health.” This shows that even if someone wanted to get help, there’s only so much that can be done for them because of the budget. It’s like the budget for mental illness is a total drop in the bucket!

This is important to all of us because it’s an ongoing issue that affects people’s lives. If we want a change, we have to find our own voices and speak up. Vote for legislation that funds mental health care. We have to work together to make this happen. People with mental illness won’t always make the first move. If you see something say something. Educate yourself about warning signs so you can be there for someone when you see them struggling. Hopefully one day, the stigma will fade and so the amount of people suffer will diminish.

Ruthie Midkiff

Bothell

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