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Silencing the Storm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

You look outside and there is nothing but rain and thunder. The darkness is thick and impenetrable; you must face this storm alone. Every step you take scars you mentally, socially, physically, and emotionally. You are an adolescent living with a devastating condition called depression.

Unfortunately, due to the stresses of school, family, and relationships that come with being a teenager, many of us walk through this torrential downpour daily. According to TeenDepression.org, 20 percent of people will experience some form of depression before adulthood, and 5 percent will be severe cases.

Teenagers who suffer from depression feel low in worth or value, guilty, fatigued, and lonely. This often leads to them engaging in unhealthy behaviors, including drug use, self-injury, unprotected sex, and even suicide. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, suicide is now the third leading cause of death among those under the age of 18. Additionally, 90 percent of teens who take their lives have a mental illness, with depression being the most common, according to Depression-guide.com. Depression affects teenagers and their families from all races and socioeconomic classes, but there are ways to quell this epidemic.

A highly effective method to protect a community from a storm is to let them know that it is coming and instruct them in how to prepare for it. The same can be said of adolescent depression. We must let teens know the symptoms of and reasons for depression. This means getting the message out through the media, health classes, school assemblies, and other community programs. This will shed light on a topic that has been left in the darkness for years, bringing a beacon of hope to calm the tempest.

To Write Love on Her Arms is one organization dedicated to educating everyone about depression and providing compassion and hope to those affected by it. Since its inception in 2006, it has helped over 150,000 people in 40 countries find the aid they need.

After learning the truth about depression, friends and family members of affected teens often come forward with the hope of helping their loved ones. If more young people are aware of the causes, symptoms, and treatment of depression, they might be motivated to take action. Sadly, less than a third of depression cases are reported, but 80 percent are treatable, according to TeenDepression.org.

After an education program at her school, a 14-year-old girl confided in the educator about her battle with depression. The trained counselor was able to provide her with the help she needed to beat her condition. Other teens may have a friend with depression but not know the warning signs. If they learned the symptoms, they could become a vital part of the healing process for their friend.

Teachers can educate teens about depression by discussing the impact that loneliness can have on young people and encouraging students to work with different partners during class. Interacting with peers can help relieve the pain of depression. Clearly, adolescent depression can be reduced through educating teens about the condition and the devastating toll it takes.

In the midst of a tornado or other disaster, family and friends come together. Families are bound by blood, friends by common interests, and many teens by depression. Therefore, communities and schools should take action by starting support groups for teens who are experiencing or have experienced the hopelessness of depression. It would only take a willing school, community center, or church, a responsible adult to mediate, and proper advertisement.

Although I have never faced serious depression, I like to know that my peers are behind me through my triumphs and my distresses. When I'm down, sometimes all it takes is the squeeze of a friend's hand to tell me that everything will be okay. Sitting down with my peers and letting them fight the battle with me gives me strength and hope.

Teens who suffer from the hopelessness that comes from depression will benefit from a support group, even if they just have the assurance that seeing similar faces can bring. There are support groups for many issues and disorders, and the people who come to these meetings often find love in the midst of their struggle by standing on common ground with others. Sadly, some students may be too embarrassed to attend a support group, especially young males who are expected to mask their feelings.

After a storm has hit, it is vital to send relief to victims. To silence the effects of depression in our generation, we must make treatment readily available. School counselors and community officials should step up to the plate and lend a helping hand to teens. Statistics show that 80 percent of adolescent depression can be treated with simple measures like counseling, support, adjusted diet, and exercise. By implementing treatment programs in our communities, we are ensuring that young people become vocal members of society.

When depression is left untreated, studies show that those afflicted have significant performance drops in school and are more prone to substance abuse, self-injury, suicide, and other mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder. However, those who are treated typically go on to lead healthy, productive lives. When a community takes the initiative to make treatment available to its young people, the youth will know that they are vital and their silent cries have been heard.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

shapeshifter56This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Nov. 11, 2012 at 11:29 pm:
Wow. This is a great piece. Very informative while not being boring in the least. I really liked the comparison of depression to a storm; I think that is definitely a very clear way to explain what it feels like. You bring up some great points. Keep up the great work!
 
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ElijahN said...
Dec. 3, 2010 at 10:48 pm:
Ah, depressing but insightful. I literally read every word of this, I was engrossed.
 
Healing_Angel This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Dec. 15, 2010 at 9:21 pm :
Your reference to a storm brewing and descending is very accurate. I like how you back yourself up with evidence too. Well done.  
 
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