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Drowning in Pain But Nobody Knows: A Look at Teen Depression

Updated on July 31, 2015
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Jo has been an ITU nurse at the London North West NHS Trust for 14 years. She obtained her RN at University College London Hospital.

 Brave Archbishop's daughter, Katharine Welby spoke out about depression.
Brave Archbishop's daughter, Katharine Welby spoke out about depression. | Source

Teen Suicide and Depression

After watching an interview with the 26 years old, and in my opinion, extremely brave daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury talking about her struggles and experience with depression and thoughts of suicide; I found myself asking the question why? Why would someone who is born into a previlege family with the best that life can offer, be depressed? Why are so many young people depressed to the point of wanting to end a life that has barely just begun? In search of an answer, I decided to do some research and write a poem.

My poem touches on some of the issues young people are facing in our society and money is no protection when It comes to anxiety, depression and suicide.

My poem, " Nobody Knows" also touches on the shocking way some youngsters try to cope with emotional pain, intense anger and frustration by self harming. Although the act of deliberately harming the body, known as 'cutting,' is not meant as a suicide attempt, it is none-the-less an extremely unhealthy way of coping for some.

Suicide is reported to be the third leading cause of death in young people between the ages of 15 to 24. Ten teenagers out of 100,000 take a decision to end their lives. Approximately 20% of teens experience depression before they reach adulthood with10 to 15 per cent exhibiting symptoms at any one time. Sadly, the number of depressed teenagers who receive treatment for depression is only 30 per cent. Teenage depression is serious, it affects million of teenagers, but unfortunately only a small per cent will get professional help with teenage depression.

Childhood should be the most carefree and happiest time of our lives, yet so many children and young adults are desperately unhappy, so much so that many are resorting to taking their own lives. Why...why are so many teenagers and young people depressed.

Teen depression is not some sort of character weakness, or something that can be overcome by the sheer force of willpower. It is not the typical teen moodiness, it can have serious consequences and requires long term treatment such as medication and psychological counseling.

Those at risk include:

  • Teenage girls experience depression twice as much as male, however, teenage boys are more successful at committing suicide

  • Teens who are abused and neglected are at risk

  • Adolescents who have chronic illness or other physical conditions

  • Children with family history of depression or mental illness. (Studies show between 20 to 50 percent of teenagers who are suffering from depression have a family member with depression or some other mental disorder).

  • Teens with untreated mental or substance abuse problems. (Two thirds of teens with major depression also struggle with another mood disorder such as dysthymia, anxiety, antisocial behaviors, or substance abuse).

  • Young people who experience trauma or disruption at home, including divorce and death of parents.

Some of the Warning Signs

  • Feeling down or sad, crying for no reason

  • Feeling tired, listless unable to do simple tasks

  • Lack of interest in activities that once gave much pleasure

  • Changes in appearance, due to lack of interest in hygiene and grooming

  • Spending more time alone, characterized by having trouble with relationships and turning away from friends

  • Feeling irritable, angry, or anxious

  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions

  • Obvious changes in weight or appetite

  • Changes in sleep patterns

  • Feeling of worthlessness and guilt

  • Aches and pains with no obvious cause

  • Overly sensitive about rejection or failure

  • Running away from home

  • Poor school performance or missing school

  • Speaking or moving more slowly than normal

  • Hallucinations or delusions

  • Thinking about death or suicide, or not interested about the future

A Chicago study in 2010, found that five times as many high school and college student are dealing with anxiety and other mental health issues as youth of the same age who were studied in the Great Depression era. So where are today's parents going wrong?

High expectation can lead to disappointment, Many well meaning and overprotective parents have left their children with few real-world coping skills, without these skills youngsters become anxious said an adolescent medicine specialist.

Students point to the pressure to succeed in this fast paced world, and pressure to be financially successful as some of the causes of teen depression.

Many young people today have an unrealistic feeling that they need a huge amount of money to be considered a success, this can lead to feelings of inadequacies which can cause anxiety and depression. Some believe that the only value in getting an education is to make a lot of money.

Most children are brought up in a culture of “you can do anything you put your mine to do” while this can be motivating to some, it can also give false expectations resulting in distress when the result is failure.

Teenagers often have to deal with peer pressure, academic expectation and changing body image.

Today's teens and young people generally want to be popular, to be seen as 'perfect'; this can have much to do with how much money their parents make, as much as how thin and skinny the teenager looks and feel which can result in body image and eating issues, as they try to 'fit in'.


Nobody Knows

Another day seen through bloodshot eyes

Struggles to face another sunrise

Can't find the will to get out of bed

An Inner voice chants better off dead

Precarious is her hold on life

Decisively soft skin touches knife

Through sting of pain she assume control

Compulsion devouring her soul

One more day of agony to claim

Deep down inside, she's dying of shame

Cut; she must, to forget her sorrows

Dying inside, yet nobody knows

Darkness reigns behind the smile she fake

The dam of tears refuses to break

Long silent screams that no one can hear

Reaps bitter bile too much to bare

They say she is odd, named her misfit

Get a grip girl, and get over it

You must show allegiance to the brand

To be permitted here in gangland

Invariable, small minds the same

Follow like Sheep to play in the game

Square pegs made to fit into round hole

Masking the pain is taking it's toll

Incessant, the noise inside her head

Weird.. freak.. peculiar ..words she heard

Her name graffitied on classroom wall

The bullies orchestrating her fall

Harder she strives, could do nothing right

Ought to wave white flag and quit the fight

But something inside refuse to die

A small voice whispers defy...defy



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    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Isaac, very nice to see you!...I'm glad you found this helpful, any suicide is a tragedy; but when it is children taking their lives it feel so wrong, so unnatural, regardless of who that person happens to be. Thank you for stopping by, I do appreciate it, take care and my best to you.

    • Isaac White profile image

      TDM 4 years ago from Welcome to my beautiful world, where magic is no longer a myth.

      great blog, The ideas and opinion you expressed was very helpful. It always pains me to hear about suicide and harming oneself. It just isn't right. I guess in the end though it depends on the person. Great job. Your blog was very helpful and useful. voted up.

      I. White

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Suzette, thank you for taking a look at this, much appreciated. You are right, neglect is a form of abuse and money does not provide a short cut to happiness. It is so sad when the young who should be grabbing the world by its tail and having the time of their lives, are depressed and jaded to the point of suicide. I'm glad you liked the poem!....take care and my best to you.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Jo: What a powerful, powerful piece you have written here. The beginning explaining teen suicide and the statistics is excellent. The poem is superb. I can't say enough about the poem - the words cut like a razor's edge. What a wonderful tone and images you have produced here. You make the reader feel the teenagers depression and despair. This should be required reading for all teens, so that they understand what others are going through. Just because a teen 'has everything' and all the advantages, does not mean they are not hurting and despairing inside. Some experience great neglect though they come from families with money and neglect is a form of abuse.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      ImKarn, it's one thing reading the statistics but every time someone comment and tells of someone they knew who have taken their life, it become so real. It isn't just numbers it's real people behind the numbers and it really hits home. Sorry about the son of your are right; it never goes away.

      Take care and my best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      ALUR, thank you for the visit and comment, much appreciated and will certainly return the favour.

      My best to you.

    • ALUR profile image

      ALUR 4 years ago from USA

      Such a tender subject and often taboo. The mind and the stage of adolescence are particularly at war with one another: hormones raging, an artist budding and an alienation. your information is useful, your poem touching...the world of depression for some does not stop at this stage in life: learning to live with the dark and light is glory.

      Hope you visit my versatile hubs as well!

    • ImKarn23 profile image

      Karen Silverman 4 years ago

      omg, Jo, this hit far too close to home..

      depression 'runs' in my family - altho - i've not experienced it - i do suffer from other goodies such as anxiety...

      a good friend of mine's son hung himself after being bullied when his girlfriend broke up with him..

      he was 17 this was 15 years ago..

      it never goes away...sticks and stones can break my bones, but names can virtually kill me...


      awesome poem as well..


    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Devika, always nice to see you!...The teenagers becomes very skilled at hiding their condition, and even when there are signs, the parents usually dismiss it as typical teen moodiness. No parents wants to even imagine that their child could be in so much pain.

      Thank you for the visit and comment, always appreciated and my best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Gypsy, thank you for the visit and comment, much appreciated. Teen suicide is really tragic, the saddest part is that most of it can be prevented. I thought exactly as you did, life is too precious to contemplate suicide, but when I took a look at why the kids feel so hopeless, it begins to make sense. The reasons are many and varied from abuse to peer pressure, but something is obviously very wrong with our society if the statistic keep rising.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Blossom, so nice to see you and thanks for taking a look, it makes sad and depressing reading!...Hopefully; now that the very brave young woman has spoken out, I hope it will motivate more young people to talk and seek help. Parents also need to listen and be aware of the signs. Thank you again for the visit and comment, much appreciated.

      Have a lovely day and my best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Travmaj, thank you for taking a look, it makes sad and depressing reading, but something is wrong and we must find a way to fix it. Sorry about the young boy whose funeral you attended, there is no way parents can come to terms with this. You are right about social media, it's here to stay, but it needs regulating.

      Take care and my best to you.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Teen depression is often not even noticed by their parents that is the most awful, when those kind of parents fail to see their teens issues from day one. A great insight to this problem thanks

    • Gypsy Rose Lee profile image

      Gypsy Rose Lee 4 years ago from Riga, Latvia

      Voted up. Great message. It's so sad that there are so many people who don't realize the plight of teenagers. They really need understanding. However teen suicide is one tragic thing which I could never understand because as many times as I thought the world was going to crumble when I was a teen I would never ever consider suicide. Passing this on.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 4 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      That was so brave of the Archbishop's daughter and you have written about this problem so well. It's something that is often swept under the carpet, it's 'just a 'phase' they're going through. The difficulty is that far too many don't get through it because they don't get the support they need. God bless you and thank you for writing about it.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 4 years ago from australia

      Not long ago I attended a funeral - a young boy who felt the pain and anguish you describe. It was a sad day and for the family, closure seems impossible. He had family, friends, top school, no financial problems, had travelled widely with his family for holidays.

      As kidscraft pointed out - 'it's not always easy growing up,' there's so much to cope with - and yes social media have much to answer for. But social media is not going to go away - it's probably increasing.

      I find this frightening and it is almost epidemic - we do need more awareness of this topic and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Thanks Frank, much appreciated.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 4 years ago from Shelton

      wow what a powerful hub tobusiness displaying the sadness of depression in teens out of darkness.. their dejection ( or self dejection I should say ) what a grim look.. very good must read hub

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      FlourishAnyway, I can't even begin to imagine how the parents of children who have killed themselves feels. How do they come to terms with the fact that they were not even aware that their child was so unhappy? The world can be a sad place indeed. Thank you for the visit and comment, much appreciated.

      Take care and my best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Martin, good for you! sister also works with youths, helping them to find work and dealing with the day to day problems, my husband help them with interview skills. I must say: I now appreciate so much more what they are trying to do.

      Thank you for stopping by, best wishes to you.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Great work here. I had some marvelous resources when I worked with the Masonic Youth.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 4 years ago from USA

      Sad statistics and a poem that speaks to the pain of some teens' anguish. I urge adults to err on the side of caution and say something. As a teenager, I had a dear friend who committed suicide. He was 15. There are so many things he has missed out on.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Bill, it's a sad reflection of our times when the young are in so much pain they are literally killing themselves.

      I saw a little of this first hand years ago for a course I was doing, I had hoped the statistics would have improved over the years, but unfortunately not so.

      Thank you for stopping by, always a pleasure.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I have seen more than my share of this during my teaching years. This is such a serious problem and bravo to you for giving it a face and a name and teaching us all more about it. Great hub, Jo!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Joelle, much better to have acted and be proven wrong, than to ignore the situation with dire consequences.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Lurana, I'm sure it will help the young people suffering from depression to know there is light at the end of the tunnel!..Thank you for the visit and insightful comment much appreciated.

      Glad you liked the poem also, take care and best wishes to you.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      I can tell you that it was not an easy decision to talk to the parents because I was afraid of their reaction. But I was more afraid that that young boy would commit suicide. I would have felt terribly guilty of saying nothing.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 4 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      This is so helpful. I think you are right about the false expectations that younger generations are raised with...they lead to disappointment and feelings of low self-worth. I loved your poem too. I have suffered myself from depression since my teenage years, and am grateful to see such a wise and compassionate perspective. ~Lurana

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Rose, You are right the causes are many and varied. It is time the powers that be, did something about social media and other bullying, we need strong laws that will send out the message that bullying will not be tolerated. We also need to celebrate the difference in each other, instead of stigmatizing individuals for being different. Thank you so much for you remarkable insight into this problem, glad you liked the poem.

      Take care, and my best to you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Joelle, Kidscrafts, teachers are ideally placed to pick up on troubled children, although it can be difficult, when they become so good at hiding the symptoms. I'm so glad your little student is alright, you must have been a wonderful teacher. Thank you for the visit and the very perceptive comment, always appreciated.

    • rose-the planner profile image

      rose-the planner 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario-Canada

      Well, what can I say? You have managed to produce another excellent body of work that drives awareness to a very serious issue. I believe the reasons behind teen suicide are far too many and some causes are complex. However, I think that the media i.e. television,magazines, billboards etc. are part of the problem because they are telling teens that they have to act a certain way, look a certain way, dress a certain way or own certain things to be accepted in this world. The other problem is the way in which Social Media platforms are being used by the young. What was meant to be a place for interesting, informative, social interaction amongst individuals throughout various online communities has, for some, become a forum for ridicule, slander and bullying. So much so that we have witnessed the torment of families dealing with the loss of their children, and finding out later that there were widespread campaigns against them by individuals tormenting their child not only at school but online for the world to see. I think there has to be more awareness on this topic and I believe that you have managed to shed a little more light on the plight that teens are facing today. Great job, excellent article and beautiful poem! (Voted up)

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Wetnose, you said it just right!... people should be able to be themselves, we are all unique with something to offer, but the world is not perfect.

      Thank you for the visit and insightful comment. My best to you as always.

    • kidscrafts profile image

      kidscrafts 4 years ago from Ottawa, Canada

      Very nice poem and great article about teen depression! The statistics are sad! Its good that the Archbishop's daughter chose to speak about it because it might help other teens.

      Sometimes, depression starts younger. I remember, when I was a teacher, I couldn't reach one of my students and I felt just terrible about that. I contacted the parents because I was really worried. I never pronounced the word suicide with them but when we talked, they knew what I was talking about because the father started to cry. I asked for help at the school before I met them but I didn't get any. Those parents were really good people and they got help for their son right away. I met the father years later and he told me that his son was just fine now.

      I don't know if in recent years, there are more cases or if finally we talk about it!

      I think it's not easy growing up now. I think there is more peer pressure now and on top of it there are the social media!

      Thanks for sharing this hub about a difficult subject!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Hi Faith, kudos to this young woman, she came out and told it like it is.. in spite of who her father happen to be. I'm hoping other young people will see that they don't have to suffer alone, there is help. Thank you for the support and great comments.

      My best to you as always.

    • wetnosedogs profile image

      wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

      Wonderful poem. Years back, my youngest son and I watched a documentary on kids speaking their minds. They surprised us by saying how defeated they felt and not fitting in, etc. It really hit home to my son that young folks, of all backgrounds, feel this way. Too bad people just can't be themselves and that should be the best, no matter what level their best is. And let the young kids enjoy life: they will grow to be strong enough.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, Jo, this is so sad at the statistics. You have done an excellent job her of bringing awareness more by sharing the reasons behind their pain and thoughts of suicide!

      She is a very brave young women to share, and I pray by doing so, others are helped!!!

      Thank you for the important hub to bring awareness as to the whys!

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      Hugs and blessings, Faith Reaper