By Dev Patel, Student Volunteer
Most people tend to think of high school as it’s depicted in the movies: an amalgamation of bullies, nerds, true love, and everything in between. Reality could not be more different.
Depression and suicide rates among teens have been rising dramatically for the past few years. Pressure to get into better colleges, more challenging courses, social pressures, and many other factors can lead to these severe mental health issues. In addition, the competitive, fast-paced, and almost frantic environments that high schools create can also deteriorate a student’s mental health and add significant stress. Let’s dive into the four main aspects of a high schooler’s life that can cause depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders.
Drugs: it is a well-known fact among teens that every high school has drugs. In fact, most people seem to acknowledge the fact that their peers use drugs and even joke and tease each other about it. This light-hearted approach seems to be reflect by the dropping teen drug use rates. However, drug use is still a prevalent problem among teens with mental health conditions, many being undiagnosed. Many teens get fed up with the repressive environment of their high school and turn to drugs. Pressure from friends or the need to “fit in” also contribute to drug use.
Hormones: During the high school, most teens go through puberty, and experience changes in body, mind, and behavior. The main components that drives these changes are hormones. Hormones such as testosterone and estrogen course through their bodies, causing mood swing and seemingly erratic behavior. This leads to a rise in fights, relationship drama, and decisions that an adult would be ashamed of. Thus, the most stressful years of a teen’s life coincide with the time that they are going through the most changes, making it crucial for adults to strive to understand what they are going through.
Homework: Homework, the bane of all high-schoolers’ existence. Especially in Howard County which has one of the best education programs in the nation. Homework is used to supplement the student’s learning, introduce new topics, or even for the teacher to get to know the student better. However, homework keeps students up late at night, prevents them from participating from other activities, and most importantly causes unhealthy amounts of stress and anxiety in teens. Nowadays, academic, social, and extracurricular responsibilities make it unlikely for students to get the recommended 8 hours of sleep and finish all their assignments properly. This lack of sleep builds up and contributes to the increasing stress levels in high schoolers today.
In conclusion, stress and other mental health issues are prevalent in high schools and the adults in a teen’s life can make a difference by letting your child know support them, not putting unnecessary pressure on them, and seeking help if their child exhibits signs of mental turmoil such as dropping grades, excessive sleeping, and drastic changes in habits. By appreciating teens in our life no matter what they’re grades and acknowledging what they are going through, we can help alleviate some of the stress in their hectic lives.
For more information and for ways to help your teen, visit: