Towards the end of my sophomore year of high school, I decided to stop getting out of bed. After months of overwhelming anxiety about school, my family, and my future, I no longer saw the point of going about my daily life. During the first few days, I was able to pass it off as a physical sickness. But as time went on, it became clear to those around me that I had a sickness of another kind.

In the U.S., the rate of depression among teens is increasing. More teens are experiencing depressive episodes, are being hospitalized for self-harm, and are attempting to commit suicide. It’s clear that America is in the middle of a mental-health crisis, and the rising number of teens with diagnosable mental disorders is a major contributor.

Thursday Teen Talk aims to help address this issue. Holding essential discussions about adolescent mental health is critical to fostering a positive community for teenagers. Each week, I will discuss a different aspect of teen mental health, including highlighting differences with adult mental health.

Relating to other teens is one of the hardest things to do when you have a mental illness. Disordered thinking convinces you that you’re the only one who’s ever felt so distressed. It drives you further into isolation, and it prevents you from seeking help. In relaying my experiences to other teens, I hope to show that what they’re suffering from is common. Millions of other teenagers have gone through the same thing.

Though focused on teenagers, this blog is for everyone. Many adults, after all, remember what it was like to suffer from mental illness as a teenager; indeed, some are still struggling with it. For readers who have not experienced a mental illness, I hope that this blog can help them provide valuable support to young people in their lives who suffer from it.

I am entering my senior year of high school. I started therapy several months ago. It isn’t easy. You grow accustomed to being in a bad place over the course of a few years, and therapy challenges that sense of comfort. Because of therapy, however, I’m able to discuss my experiences and raise awareness for mental health in my community. With Thursday Teen Talk, I hope to reach—and help—an even wider audience.

Until next week,

Sophia

©2018 Do No Harm Foundation

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