Did you know that almost 50 million Americans have expressed symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses in the past year? This is why schools should hire more counselors and have daily check-ins with all students, even when students don’t show signs of anxiety or other mental illnesses. When I first learned more about depression, it was because of my best friend. I saw how his mind was attacking him, and how so much of his personality changed instantly. It made me feel bad for him because he didn’t deserve it. I remember when I felt waves of depression. I wonder how I got my mind out of those overwhelming, depressing thoughts. I thought it wouldn’t stop. It was like I couldn’t feel reality.
If more attention isn’t brought to depression, mental health will worsen, and suicides will increase. If this problem were to be solved, I believe more people would go out, look for jobs, and enjoy the one life they have left without feeling so bad about themselves. I also believe there would be fewer cases of suicide. People are so busy these days and only focus on daily tasks. They don’t acknowledge their mental health as a priority. Teens also fear speaking out because they think people will not understand or care about them or judge them. “There’s a lack of community. There’s the amount of time we spend in front of screens and not in front of other people. If you don’t have a community to reach out to, then your hopelessness doesn’t have any place to go, ” says Dr. Laurel Williams, Chief of Psychiatry at Texas Children’s Hospital. In other words, if teens don’t feel they have someone to talk to or depend on, they will most likely do things that might harm them and worsen their depression, and that is where things like suicide come along. To conclude, teens think they are alone, and when that loneliness builds up inside, it devours them. And not only that, but it affects them behaviorally and socially.
To address this issue, more school counselors should be available and have daily check-ins so more teens feel safe talking to someone about their problems and don’t keep all their feelings to themselves. School counselors are considered trusted adults by many kids, and if more teens knew that, they would be able to talk more about their feelings and not feel so alone all the time.
An analysis in Education Week by Arianna Prothero shares that ”In 2020-21—the first full school year of the pandemic—only 14 percent of districts met the recommended ratio of students to school counselors. Almost forty percent of all school districts did not have a single school counselor! A district isn’t a single school–it’s many schools in one, and each district can be 250,000-500,000 students. Imagine all those students without a single counselor!” This indicates that more school counselors should be put in schools because of all the kids who are left without someone to talk to. An article by Anxiety.org states, “School counselors, who are appropriately trained, can provide effective treatment to adolescent students with social anxiety, yielding benefits comparable to those obtained by specialized clinical psychologists.” Therefore, more school counselors should be available for students. Those counselors should reach out to students even if they aren’t showing signs of depression, anxiety, or other illnesses because people don’t know what each student goes through. To summarize, more school counselors are needed to help students. Even if students aren’t in counseling all the time, just talking about mental health and their problems can help many students and lower suicides and other mental illnesses.
To conclude, depression in young teens is rising more than decreasing while no one cares enough to notice. The more people don’t pay attention to it, the more suicide rates will increase, and depression will grow in the blink of an eye. I am very lucky to say my best friend got help from a school counselor, and I want others to be proud to say that too. School counselors should be available to any student ready to talk.