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Why Parents Should be Concerned about Depression among Teenagers and Young Adults

Updated on November 14, 2017
Patrick Patrick profile image

Patrick has been working as a freelance writer for the past 3 years

Depression

Statistics

According to statistics, it is estimated that about 500 people take their own lives in New Zealand. This is in addition to the fact that many more attempt to commit suicide while many others are experiencing varying levels of distress that place them at high risk of the same. According to the statistics of 2011, high rates of suicide were found to be among the young adults between the ages of 15 and 24, with young males committing more suicide (28.1 per a hundred thousand) as compared to young women (9.9 per 100,000).

According to the researchers, this is as a result of a range of factors that lead to instances of depression and other mental disorders among the young adults. This is largely caused by a variety of factors that include societal and family pressure as well as peer and social media. With increasing levels of unemployment in the country, a number of New Zealand young adults are likely to turn in to unhealthy habits that may lead to suicidal tendencies. For instance, without jobs, some of the young adults may turn to drugs and alcohol, which can only aggravate their situation.

Among 27 of the developed nations globally, New Zealand has the second highest death rates among young adults, which is a point of concern. For teachers, this is very challenging given that they have a difficult time identifying suicidal young adults given that a majority will pretend to be fine around their peers, while others refuse to seek assistance. On the other hand, suicidal young adults may be observed to behave and act rude, arrogant and even disrespectful to their peers and adults including their teachers. In general, this will negatively affect their engagement in the learning environment since it ultimately affects concentration. Although the author fails to mention this, it is important to note that a majority of the factors leading to suicidal tendencies such as stress and depression will negatively affect a student’s concentration and participation in class, which will also affect the teachers trying to get through to these young adults. For instance, in a classroom situation, a student who is experiencing given challenges may start acting rudely, aggressive or disrespectful, which may interrupt the class session. On the other hand, successful suicides among these young adult may cause teachers to have doubts about their capacity to help students.

Care

Source

Apart from high rates of suicide in New Zealand, it was also found that a good number of the young adults in the county die from car traffic accidents, which has been attributed to the use of drugs. The use of drugs among the young is likely to negatively affect their academics, health and life in general, factors that may cause depression and therefore increased risks of suicide.

According to one report, it was shown that in a majority of suicide notes left behind by young adults, they cursed their parents and friends for how they treated them. This shows that parents and peers have a part to play in the high rates of suicide. Divorce among parents, neglect and mistreatment may push young adults to lose their self- esteem and value in themselves, and therefore see no value in living. This is likely to influence them to commit suicide as a way out. In school, the young adults may face bullying, discrimination of various types or rejection by peers causing them to develop high emotions. A majority of the young adults want to bond and form relationships with other peers. However, rejection, humiliation and bulling may cause others to become highly depressed to an extent that they commit suicide. The society and family therefore play an integral part in the life of young adults. As they grow and develop, they have to make important decisions, become more independent, find jobs, and get in to relationships and more. All these may become overwhelming for young adults, and particularly for those who have experienced various types of discrimination or rejection. Cyber bullying or bullying my peers therefore becomes too much for them to handle. On the other hand, the media has continued to raise the standards of how young adults should live like and behave like. For instance, young women may feel that they are too fat compared to the ones they see on television. In an attempt to look like them, they may start engaging in poor health choices that can ultimately result in instances of anorexia. In such cases, a young lady may face ridicule and discrimination by her peers, increasing the risks of suicide. As the author points out, peers and social media are some of the factors that lead to increased risks of suicide, and this explains why.

With the difficulty of reaching young adults these days, it has become increasingly difficult for teachers to reach them, making it much difficult for them to intervene in a timely manner. Some parents will also go on to blame teachers and schools for failing to help these students, which makes their work even more difficult.

Love and Care

Source

According to the Ministry of Health in New Zealand, increased rates of suicide has resulted to drug use, bullying even unemployment. With increased pressure for the young adults to get jobs and support those who depend upon them, they are likely to give in to the strain, and attempt suicide. Other causes were shown to include high alcohol use, binge drinking as well as the refusal to seek help early enough. Without early intervention, these young adults would end up suffering in silence, and ultimately trying to take their own lives.

In a majority of the western countries such as New Zealand, young adults want to be financially stable in order to have a good life in the society. However, failing to do so makes them targets of ridicule from their peers and the society in general. On the other hand, engaging in drug use is also likely to negatively affect t their lives and health, and ultimately push them to depression and stress. These are factors that increase the risks of suicide. In a class that I was taking a while back, one of the student had become a target of jokes and ridicule due to the fact that his mother had been having sexual relations with a teacher in the school that eventually caused her marriage. With the jokes and ridicule, he went into depression, which was only learnt after he tried to commit suicide. Weeks before this incident, he had been missing classes, become aggressive and even started smoking, a habit he avoided before. However, the jokes and ridicule had pushed him to the limits, causing him to attempt suicide. In a school meeting, teachers were blamed for not stopping the ridicules, and getting the student the help he needed. These are just a few of the factors affecting young adults in New Zealand. Without proper coping mechanisms, they have no one to turn to, and choose suicide as a way out. With a majority of the young adults behaving in a somewhat rude, arrogant manner, it is difficult for teachers to recognize what these students are going through until it is too late. Some of the main causes of suicide among the young adults in New Zealand have been shown to include heavy drug and alcohol use, social and parent pressure, bullying and discrimination as well as media influences. It is therefore important that initiatives be taken, especially by parents so that appropriate measures can be taken in good time.

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    • Patrick Patrick profile image
      Author

      Patrick 4 months ago from Nairobi

      A very interesting presentation Kenna. It truly raises very important questions. I hope many more people listen to it, but most importantly, I hope I get to hear more from people who have been using or have used these drugs.

      Again, thank you for sharing.

    • Kenna McHugh profile image

      Kenna McHugh 4 months ago from Northern California

      Nice. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    • Patrick Patrick profile image
      Author

      Patrick 4 months ago from Nairobi

      Thank you for sharing Kenna. I am going to listen to it.

    • Kenna McHugh profile image

      Kenna McHugh 4 months ago from Northern California

      Marketing of Madness is an important documentary to watch for any parent, teacher, or educator who falls for the falsehoods of being a normal teenager. http://www.cchr.org/videos/marketing-of-madness/

    • Patrick Patrick profile image
      Author

      Patrick 4 months ago from Nairobi

      dashingscorpio, I like and appreciate your point of view. Cultivating a good, friendly relationship with their kids from the time they are very young can really help them share more and seek directions from those around them (both parents and other familiar adults)

      The biggest issue here is that most of these kids keep issues that stress them to themselves, which increasingly affect them and ultimately have very negative outcomes.

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 4 months ago

      The biggest problem is parents forget what it was like when they were teenagers!

      The reality is teenagers and parents live in parallel universes which seldom intersect unless there's a problem.

      A lot of parents today lull themselves into believing that since they're not as strict as their parents were that their teenagers will come to them and discuss problems.

      However teenagers want to think of themselves as "adults". Therefore they don't want to run to their parents when they're being bullied at school or dealing with a boyfriend/girlfriend who is verbally/physically abusive.

      Oftentimes even when they're approached by their parents they'll withdraw from them or claim they're doing fine.

      Feelings of being "alone" causes teens depression.

      Another problem teenagers have is they find it difficult to think about themselves in the future a year or five years out.

      Whatever problem/issue they're going through is seen as something permanent. All that matters to them is right now.

      When I was in Jr. high school a 13 year old girl attempted suicide because her 14 year old boyfriend dumped her to date the new girl at school.

      It's said that any 13 year old girl would think life isn't worth living and no 14 year old boy should be responsible for the well being of anyone.

      I often have wondered if this woman ever looked back after graduating from high school, going to college, establishing a career, getting married and having her own 13 year old daughter.... if she thinks how immature it was to want to die.

      "Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem."

      The best thing a parent can do is ingrain in their teenagers that whatever is happening in their lives is temporary.

      While in Jr. high take them to visit a few college campuses, have them participate in career type activities/internships and anything which causes them to imagine a life beyond now. Set aside some time each evening or weekly to debrief or discuss what's going on.

    • Patrick Patrick profile image
      Author

      Patrick 6 months ago from Nairobi

      Thank you Diane. Hope it was helpful.

    • DMChristiansen profile image

      Diane Mayer Christiansen 6 months ago from Glenview

      Great article!

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