The State of Your Mind

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Macleans has investigated and written about the state of student minds across North America. What they have found is disturbing.

Cornell University has just installed steel mesh nets under seven bridges around their campus. These bridges overlook the gorges that were the sites of three Cornell student suicides in 2010 out of a total of six that year. Their president David J. Skorton acknowledged that these deaths were just “the tip of the iceberg, indicative of a much larger spectrum of mental health challenges faced by many on our campus and on campuses everywhere.” Kate Lunau, The Broken Generation, Macleans Sept, 10, 2012.

Ryerson University had a 200 per cent increase in demand from students in crisis situations last year. The University of Alberta did a survey of 3,000 students about mental and physical health. Macleans posted the highlights (all responses considered the last 12 months):

51.3% felt things were hopeless

87.5% felt overwhelmed by all you had to do

87.1% felt exhausted (not from physical activity)

61.7% felt very lonely

65.6% felt very sad

34.4% felt so depressed that is was difficult to function

52.1% felt overwhelming anxiety

40.7% felt overwhelming anger

57.1% experienced more than average stress

6.8% seriously considered suicide

1.2% attempted suicide

Some reasons suggested by the article:

A very challenging job market with no guarantee of a job after; competition for entrance in universities is stiff, but once there students sometimes experience “a downward mobility” as they are no longer at the top of the class; academic success is so important some resort to taking prescription stimulants to stay focused and awake; heavy debt load; pressure to succeed from home; tendency to want to be a winner in everything they do; inability to handle the unknown; inability to cope with a lack of varied experiences and too much focus placed on academics; insufficient support from schools.

Another article talked about the stigma attached to calling these problems “mental illness” therefore preventing many from coming forward to seek help:

“Lately, we’ve been hearing a lot about efforts to improve the services available to students related to their psychological well-being on campuses. University presidents met for a workshop recently, and Queen’s University welcomed a new $1-million chair to study stigma. Now, I am no mental health professional but I do know a few things about universities and have some experience with anxiety and depression. If it were up to me, those trying to improve things on Canadian campuses would keep one crucial principle in mind: be careful how you talk about it.

First, let’s call depression and anxiety something other than “mental illness.” I know that might sound strange and many experts may cringe, but the range of psychological burdens and hurdles is vast, and placing what can be eminently manageable problems in such a huge box with so many other conditions can have unintended negative consequences. Case in point: the term mental illness puts students overwhelmed by workload or having trouble being away from home for the first time in the same category as deranged killers.” Todd Pettigrew, Stop Calling These Kids Mentally Ill, Macleans, Feb 8, 2012.

Paul Tough has written a book, How Children Succeed, and in it he states that student success is less about programming as it is about the ability to handle stress. If a parent/guardian has raised the child (whether rich or poor) with support, love and a sense of personal responsibility, then children arrive in the classroom with the ability to handle stressful situations, concentrate on their work and with the social skills to navigate the system.

Michael Enright on CBC’s The Sunday Edition spoke to Dr Pasi Sahlberg, reform guru Finland’s education system about how their students are allowed to grow and blossom without school until age 7, without standardized testing, homework or competition. They concentrate on the mental health of their students and establish safe, respectful environments for learning. Teachers are educated in a system similar to engineering and medicine and they are a highly respected part of Finish society. Listen here.

What do you think about the state of student minds across North America? Why is this happening? Depression and stress is a big concern in high schools too. What can be done about it?

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24 thoughts on “The State of Your Mind

  1. First off I would like to state that the teenage mind is wired to be depressed and addicted to things in this particular time of the developmental stages. Mental illness is something that is normal among people at this age but I believe that media and society inflate the concern; causing people to self diagnose and not receive proper attention. But I don’t think that the overwhelming stress of jobs, parents, money, social media, or school help the cause. So many things are being thrown at the teenage to the early twenties generations now days and they are expected to handle it.
    Focusing on school is stressful enough by itself. In high school, you have to worry about choosing your life’s pathway, achieving the grades, and then praying for the acceptance letter in the mail. In university, you have to worry about not getting sucked into partying or surrounding yourself with the wrong people. As well as finding good work habits to ensure that you get the marks you need to stay in your program and such. During all this you are attempting to balance friends, family, eating, sleeping, and studying. And then, you have parents saying that it was so much worse when they were younger! All of these things push people to their breaking points because there is a lack of oxytocin (the happy hormone) in the brain. No one is focusing on being happy.
    Students need to understand the importance of inner peace to fully achieve their goals. The self neglect being put on the mind and body resulting from stress only results in more harm than good. Stress is very hard on the body and that seems to be forgotten about just so one can try to achieve a goal. Our North American society needs to learn to achieve an equilibrium between the good and the bad to truly achieve one universal goal; a happy life.

  2. I found this very interesting, mainly because I can relate to it so much. In many of these cases and percentages, I know at least one person going through that exact thing whether its me or someone I know. I know many different people that constantly think about or actually attempt suicide. I also have a friend who’s brother committed three years back. I go through school everyday watching people and just imagining what is possibly going through their minds.
    I really like the point about someone who’s going through a rough time being classified as the same thing as a deranged killer because it is spot on. When we hear the words “mental illness” we think the person is crazy when that may certainly not be the case. I mean, last year was a tough year for me and I’ve never been as low as I was but I certainly was not in the same place as a deranged killer. Life happens and sometimes life sucks, but we can not immediately give titles and, really, diagnose people as being mentally ill just because they are going through one of the sucky parts of life.
    I believe the main cause to all of this depression and hurt is the media. I know everybody says that but that’s because it really is true. Social media now gives false portrayals of almost everything. Relationships, the way our bodies should look, sexual relations, family, everything. So when we see things like that and then go back to reality, of course we’re going to be disappointed and it is going to get to us.
    I really liked this post and I think it should be shared to raise thought and awareness.

  3. I believe that the state of mental illness is at an all-time high. Being in the school system pretty much all my whole life I have experienced it and also seen it through out. In my mind I can see it more but I’m not 100% sore if its just that my mind has developed enough to comprehend these things. Now and days people everywhere are getting degrees so when its our time usually there is no space and you need to be the best of the best to actually have any chance of getting in. I as well as my brother have suffered from anxiety I know what its like having an dealing with it. High school is the place where everyone says that you find yourself. I don’t believe that this is the case because I haven’t been able to do anything that is related to me in a very long time, because I have been doing school and school related activities all these years. I believe that if we can not lessen the workload but just go back to the 5 years so that not everything is all crammed into this little bit of time. I also think that if we have more understanding of these things that we can try and prevent them.

  4. I completely agree with Cassie-Hope Aubin. I believe it is important to recognize that there is a difference between mental illnesses and the stress and depression that students often experience as a result of school. To consider this stress or depression mental illnesses is both trivializing genuine mental illnesses and adding to the stigmatization surrounding it. Generally, mental illnesses such as anxiety disorder and clinical depression do not have a root cause, and instead stem from chemical imbalances in the brain. To say that these serious illnesses are on the same level as the stress and depressed emotions often experienced by students and caused by distinct external factors is offensive. In order to effectively offer assistance to these students, the distinction between mental illnesses and stress or depression stemming from school must be recognized and understood. Mental illnesses and the rising rates of stress and depression in schools and universities/colleges are completely different, though equally important, issues and should therefore be addressed and treated as such. I believe that schools should offer students guidance and information on reducing stress and depression associated with academics or a school environment in general, and that if these methods are proven to be ineffective they should assist these students in seeking professional help. I also believe that schools should be aware of the extreme stress and depression that students are experiencing so they can try their best to reduce or eliminate it. Mass amounts of homework combined with pressure from family members or the students themselves to excel and do exceptionally well can be overwhelming, and speaking from experience, can have a negative impact on the student’s mental well-being. Teachers should try their best to coordinate due dates and test dates with one another to avoid overworking students, and should be there to offer their students support whenever necessary.

  5. I believe that students in high school and university/college alike are experiencing higher levels of stress which, in turn, causes depressive episodes. To say that this period of high stress is “mental illness” is to be ignorant of the true nature of mental illness itself. That is not to discredit the power that stress can have, but to simply make a distinction between psychiatric illness, and stress or depressive moods caused by external factors. I think it is extremely important to understand the difference between these two types of conditions, primarily because both situations require a different plan of action. This rising problem can be addressed in many ways. Schools should provide students with the tools to acquire professional help, should it be necessary. One contributing factor to this problem is the stigmatization of mental illness. There are two scenarios that can occur when someone experiences high stress and/or depressive mood episodes. First, the stigma could lead the individual to falsely believe that they have a mental illness and therefore will have to deal with the lifelong complications that mental illness brings, simply because they are under high amounts of stress or are depressed. This belief could then add to the feeling of hopelessness that they may already be experiencing. Second, the stigma could cause the individual to believe that their problems aren’t valid and are not as severe as mental illness, thus keeping them from seeking the professional treatment they may require. I believe that mental illness and stress/depression are two different topics completely. Another issue lays in the numerous meanings of the word depression. Depression is not a disorder in and of itself. While many use the word to refer to major depressive disorder, others use it to mean a period of sadness or even a period of major depression that is not connected to a disorder. Most commonly, though, it is used in reference to major depressive disorder. Major depressive disorder is a physical psychiatric disorder; experiencing a depressive episode does not mean one has major depressive disorder or any other disorder. Mental illness and rising rates of stress and depression are two entirely different, but equally important, issues that should be addressed as such.

  6. The article ‘The State of Your Mind’ has many valid points that I as a high school student can relate to about depression and anxiety. I am in grade 12, which means that next year I will be going into university. The thought of this makes me very anxious! Just the idea of choosing what I want to do as a career for the rest of my life at the age of 17 scares me. I know that in a few years I will have obtained much more life experience and may regret the decision I made as a teenager.
    Stress lives in a different area of my mind as a student. I personally am a person whom considers themself someone who ‘doesn’t test well’. This means that when I am in class I do very because I work hard when I get home, however when it comes to writing an exam, the pressure doesn’t not only come from the student but also teachers, parents, etc. It seems that I am always in competition with every other student there, we as students are constantly reminded that there only so many spots available and unless you get into your desired university/college you will never get a job which means not having an income and so on.
    These are not the only causes for student, but they are the ones I can relate to. I think this article was very interesting and gives me hope that when I go to university I will not be the only person who is stressed and finally that universities are trying to find solutions to the stress and anxiety.

  7. As a student with bad anxiety, I can totally relate to this article. And it’s true. After speaking with various professionals about my anxiety, triggers, etc, I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends and classmates could probably be categorized as ‘mentally ill’ with depression or anxiety.

    I think a lot of the pressure is unnecessary. While teachers again and again say to “just do your best”, it’s always a competition to get the top mark. With this stigma, self-esteem goes down, especially when you think your doing well and your marks/results do not back you up. But a lot of the time, students put pressure on themselves: pressure to be the best, pressure to be busy, pressure to grow up too fast.

    Besides that, people, students especially, do not want to admit that they are having problems. This is once again set by their high expectations.

    In the end, this article is very accurate; and it’s no wonder why depression is a huge problem nowadays.

  8. I believe most university/college and high school students across North America experience high levels of depression and stress due to the expectations they set for themselves and the pressure caused by multiple influences, such as parents, teachers, peers, social media etc.. Today’s generation is very different from our past ones. Majority children in this generation were coddled and are still coddled as university/ college students. Most parents provide their children with mostly everything they want, supply money so work isn’t necessary, vehicles, organized sports. They do everything for us to make our schedules less stressful when really our parents don’t realize they are subliminally teaching us that we are not able to handle responsiblity and they simply do not trust us to do things on our own. By our parents coddling us we never learn failure, that failing is a stepping stone to success, which is why anxiety and stress become so high, it’s the fear in attempting something new that holds us back because we are afraid of failing and disapointing our parents and/or teachers. These problems students are having troubles dealing with are simply a result of lack of confidence and accountability stemmed from a young age, unconsciously knowing it.

    1. What do you think about the state of student minds across North America? Why is this happening? Depression and stress is a big concern in high schools too. What can be done about it?

      The state of student minds across North America is a very dissonant one. Students are feeling depressed and stressed because of the continous demand to sit down depress their body, and instead turn on their analytical mind. In this process the student is depressing a majority of their true intelligence that is happening in their body NOW. The school system is to blame. It demands that students fill a role like a camel carrying a man across a desert. The path of post secondary education as well as college and university provide a false sense of security for students. They believe that if they grind their nose and do their work that they are guaranteed a safe and comfortable life. Unfortunely this is not the truth. Much of the physcological health problems are from depressing the true feelings in your body and heart. This is very dangerous behaviour, but it has been taught onto the youth since middle school. The main point is to find yourself and trust yourself which will give you the power to be responsible for your destiny.

  9. Students today both high school and university experience a lot of pressure to perform and to be “successful”. When we were kids we had dreams of being an astronaut or firefighter or whatever other stimulating and exciting career we could think of. but as you get closer and closer to the end of school being influenced along the way you start to get convinced that maybe you should just do something that will get you a job, maybe you should make some money, maybe you should just do some career that people have told you to do. we seem to lose our dreams, or at least compromise them. For what reason? more than likely to make more money…
    I agree that youth today are much softer and more babied than our previous generation and this may very well be the cause for the increase in these mental illnesses. society has changed for sure, and from what we have seen in these studies…. for the worse. what is the cause? the increase in media exposure? less hardship? more technology? it is hard to tell but something needs to change in society or else who knows what materialistic zombies the youth will be in 20 years.
    I believe that more people should try harder to persevere from the influence of others in selecting their career choice. By this I mean that individuals need to have more confidence to take a lead of faith once in a while. We fear failure so much that we shy away from our dreams. I think this is where the extreme stress in university/college is rooted. I can imagine being three years into a program that I don’t even want to do… I don’t blame these students for being so stressed.
    If you are doing something that you truly care about and love doing then who are you trying to prove anything to? nobody, just yourself. I think that is true happiness.

  10. It seems as though most students across North America are setting extremely high standards for themselves and this is what is causing students to become overly stressed. We were also just recently hit by a major recession and people everywhere are losing jobs at the cost of efficiency. It is a no wonder that students are freaking out and become too depressed when their entire future does not look too promising. I think a lot of the problems happening right now can be connected back to most student’s childhoods where life was easy and the recent generation did not work hard for what they wanted. University likely becomes a huge reality check and students are becoming overwhelmed with the change to have to work for what you want. If universities want to help students with such a massive transition they must invest more time and money into helping them move over. Such ideas could include more mandatory tours and discussions with fellow classmates, as well as more opportunities to come in and get help as whole class rather than singularly. I think the major issue is also the stress of not getting a job after school and simply by offering more co-op opportunities for every program, this issue could be addressed. Overall students should generally wake up and realize they can only do as good as they were born to be and they should stop stressing over unrealistic goals.

  11. The state of student minds across North America has been on a downward spiral, mainly in the last couple of years. Students not only in university but also high school become stressed from teachers and also it is a result of the pressure from parents to succeed. Some students believe that the answer to all of the weight on their shoulders is to take prescription stimulants to stay awake and focused on schoolwork, which in the end is only pushing them further down the spiral. This build up of stress leads to “mental illnesses”, which is probably one of the worst facts you could tell a student who is already under so much stress. As soon as the scholar believes that they actually have a “mental illness”, they will most likely break down and simply stop trying to succeed. This leads to feeling overwhelmed, exhausted from lack of exercise, depressed and can lead to one or many suicide attempts. All of these issues just because of stress. Students need to have more information about “mental illnesses”, like how to handle them or who is available to talk or listen to them. As students, we need to deal with the stress as soon as possible, before it builds up and becomes something much more. Teenagers with “mental illnesses” need someone they trust who they can talk to about what they are feeling, because keeping these feelings inside just worsens the situation. In the end, students succeed academically based on their ability to handle stress, but when the stress does take over, they need to know how to handle this force properly.

  12. What do you think about the state of student minds across North America? Why is this happening? Depression and stress is a big concern in high schools too. What can be done about it?

    I think the state of the student mind is just a reflection of the state of our society. Competition, stress, and the over importance and mutilation of the word “success” is what causes the grief in today’s generation. What does success mean to the average student? Money, making the parents proud, and having good enough conditions to make a family is what they would say. But do they really mean it? Most kids in senior year wouldn’t know what they want to pursue, and this is because of the preset goals society has ingrained into them. They aren’t allowed to do anything they want or think is right. An art degree? That’s clearly useless and won’t allow you to support a family. A teacher? Hah, good luck getting a supply teaching job, let alone the real one. These words shut down the students will to learn what they want, and I think that is what causes the depression and suicidal tendencies in university students. They are in a program they don’t like, working towards a job they don’t want to do, which then they realize that they will be doing this task they hate for the rest of their lives, in order to please the goals they don’t even care about. Success isn’t about other people, it’s about you. If someone goes into a program they don’t care about, in the end, the passionate artist going into art will be much more successful, even in terms of money, than the barley graduating engineer who will go on to do poorly in the job market as that requires more than average work, which he won’t have.

    -Rinor

  13. What do you think about the state of student minds across North America? Why is this happening? Depression and stress is a big concern in high schools too. What can be done about it?

    It is not only the state of student minds across North America that are being affected this way but the state of mind in practically all age groups. There has been an increase in depression statistics in the last few decades all across North America and I do not believe that it is merely the stresses of university and competition, though that may play a partial role in this. We enter this life believing that the world is at our very own fingertips yet as you progress further, our entire demeanor becomes desultory. Our intrepid notions as children are completely stripped from us, and this, I believe is where the depression roots from. The knowledge in the vastness of our possibilities has become much too elusive due to the countless distractions brought on by technology. Not only technology in the form of applications and connections, but technology in the form of information and awareness of the seven billion people living in this earth. It is far too large a number for us to even comprehend but we try anyway to no avail. I believe that the knowledge of the number of people on this earth brings about many questions and insoluble conflicts. Such as: There is always going to be somebody better than you–why bother trying? This world has so many people that are much more capable than me but do not have the means–I’m a waste of space and time. We keep other people in regard more now than ever, but in such a comparative way, rather than anything helpful, due to the competitive nature of this society. There is too much “white noise”, too many distractions, too many negative voices, too many people that are better than you. We forget to hone in on our childish nature. We forget to be adventurous in trying new things. We forget that happiness is more important than success. We forget that experimentation can be fun. That practice makes perfect, that we are able to become “better” with each passing day if we just try. We believe that so many things are demanded of us which turns us into this great ball of stress and forget that it’s okay to let go. Fall off the bike a couple of times–it’s better than self-inflicted death.

    What can be done about it? I believe that schools should bring more activity into our daily lives as children and teenagers and be taught that each person is equal regardless of whatever career you achieve. The lawyer is not greater than the janitor, the neurosurgeon is no greater than the kindergarten teacher, etc. We must be taught to be less competitive (albeit, some competitiveness is alright if used in the correct way) and more intrepid. The quality of lifestyle is meaningless if you’re willing to throw away your own life in the process. We must be taught of the importance of happiness and confidence in oneself rather than being sucked in by the white noise.

  14. This blog caught my attention right away, as I have been extremely stressed out about graduating this year and worrying about the job market I would be entering after university. I’ve been having migraines lately and am always feeling exhausted, until today when I realized I cannot control where I will end up in life, but I can try my best to head in the direction I wish to go. I realized how blessed I am to have so much support from my family, friends and teachers, and over thinking things and stressing out really isn’t benefiting anyone.

    I know that I, by far, am not the only one worried about the future, but reading these statistics has let me see how bad it really is. This has let me observe myself from an outside perspective, and I know now how ridiculous it is to ruin your your life just thinking about life. Of course, it took me some time and a day of feeling faint and having my friends tell me to drink water, eat and sleep to realize how much I’ve lost it. I mean, I love to eat, how could I suddenly forget that? I’m so extremely lucky to have people like that, people who can tell me what I’m missing even if I didn’t tell them. To have my parents keep track of my meals. It is also nice for a change to communicate with friends, since I’ve found that I’ve been cutting people off lately. I don’t do it on purpose, and I still talk to everyone, but I find it harder to communicate for some reason. It feels just as hard to communicate to my parents in that way. By communicate, I mean expressing all of my worries to the extent I feel them. Otherwise, I’ve been able to speak and deny how stressed I am extremely well. Perhaps too well, because now everything seems to rain down all together.

    Though I am picking it up again.

    Back to the blog, some of the statistics really stunned me, I’m not going to lie. Though it mostly made sense, I was surprise how lonely and sad people felt. Considering suicide is way beyond me, and I really wish everyone could find the things worth holding on to, the things that can pull them back from suicidal thoughts. I hope I always have those “things” with me. I don’t know what I would do without them. Those “things” I’m referring to is my family and friends by the way. I really should find a much more respectable word to refer to them, but since everyone is different, there are other “things” that can hold them together. Such as passion, ambition and dreams, and these help me as well.

    I have never seen myself in any field that doesn’t involve creativity, and the inevitable competitiveness is driving me insane. I wish to pursue a career in commercial interior design, and after talking to a few designers, I know I’m probably not going to do it my entire life, as it even stresses them out. A lot of the time, they are required to work late and on weekends. Perhaps I can get into teaching when I’m at that point in life, but for now I’m going to keep my dreams in interior design. No job is easy anyway, and most jobs, creative or not, are competitive if you want to be successful. I don’t want fear to push me away from my passion.

    University is stressful, but I feel that it’s mostly stressful because of the worries about what will happen after graduating, and I’m saying this even before I’ve graduated high school. The workload is of course a huge issue, but time management can solve that. Something I’m currently working on. Instead of stressing about what will happen and how it will happen, I believe if one lives life in the moment (and I mean enjoying the people and opportunities around you, not continuously partying) they can cure the stress they feel, or at least decrease it. I will end my spiel with the speech the Dalai Lama had answered when he was asked what surprised him most about humanity: “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” I do not want to be that man, and I will try my best to keep the things that ground me and hold me back from being that person, one that is a part of statistic such as the ones in this blog.

  15. In my opinion, while reading this article, i feel that students are receiving too much attention in todays society and need to learn how to cope with there problems by themselves. If all you are doing is talking about depression and anxiety all you are going to do is put it in these kids minds and there gunna go with the flow. Dont get me wrong some kids do have severe depression and anxiety but for the most part i dont think that many kids do.

  16. I’m not too surprised of the statistics of what goes through the mind of students. University is a stressful topic especially if you’re in your last year of high school. There is a lot to plan and think about such as what career you want to get into, budget (Financial) , if you still want to be close to be home or far.

    It can also put more pressure when questioned what are you going to do after high school. You feel as if you are running out of time and need to know right away. I think for some the level of procrastination has definitely increased. You never realize how much you’ve slacked off until you hit grade 12 . The most serious year. Not to mention there’s so many distractions now a days when there’s new gadgets coming out. Choosing where you want to apply sounds really overwhelming and even more stressful when you’re indecisive & you want to make sure you know what you want to do. Financially wise you could end up wasting your time with something you end up not liking.

    I know that the idea of picking a university stresses me out i’m very indecisive when it comes to the topic, i do have my options which doesn’t totally have me down because i know it is a start of something.

    What some students don’t really think about is that they do have time to figure it out. They don’t have to go to school right away but some don’t have a chose. They’re being pushed in a direction they might have not chosen for themselves. I’ve talked a few people in a situation where they’re not sure where they wanna go but their parents tell them they need to decide now and later on regret it because they spent a lot of money in something they weren’t interested in doing.

    When other people have known what they want and here they wanna go from grade 10 it puts a lot of stress on others who don’t know. They feel as if they should already have it planned. One thing that could stop all this stress is just get organized first have a few choices, you want to pick things you take interest too. Having options is a start so you don’t feel completely behind. Researching can help a lot especially to know how you’re are going to be covered financially and living arrangements.

  17. I had no idea the student population was so stressed and desperate. Is it caused by an increased workload in University? A lack of time management ability in dealing with said workload? If it’s one of the two above, I think one of the compulsory high-school courses (art perhaps) should be replaced by a course on time management and/or financial management (since finances are a large stress-er).
    However, if this problem is purely mental, and not due to University

  18. Many people attribute this kind of attitude to laziness bred into our generation. For some, that may be true, because some people are coddled too much in their youth. However, I have a different outlook on this kind of situation.

    As a sufferer of diagnosed Social Anxiety Disorder, I speak from the heart when I say that I understand what many of these students are going through. Anxiety disorders are believed to be the most common mental health problem in the world, affecting an estimated 10% of the world’s population. Only one third of sufferers ever seek help in their entire lives. And this is excluding depression and eating disorders, which frequently go hand-in-hand with chronic anxiety.

    It’s also well-known that people in their teens and early twenties experience more anxiety and much higher depression and suicide rates, which has some to do with the immense amount of mental and emotional pressure on them throughout that part of their lives. The bigger cause, however, is hormones. In a person’s adolescence, their hormones are running absolutely amok – and nobody’s hormone levels are the same. This can cause immense emotional stress that seems causeless, but is nonetheless unavoidable and completely legitimate.
    Depression and chronic anxiety are not to be taken lightly under and circumstances. They are not weakness of character, and should not be treated as such. They are very serious matters, and cannot be overcome by sheer force of will. For evidence, consider one element of my own anxiety: when I began high school, I was practically alone; only one person in my entire grade had known me in grade eight. Most people that I did ‘know’ hadn’t seen me since grade four. For the entire year of grade nine, I shook uncontrollably while talking to anyone I didn’t know well, including teachers, and continued to shake for as long as forty-five minutes afterward. I began to take my current medication shortly before beginning grade ten, and it made a very dramatic difference to my ability to interact with other people.

    Even medicated, my anxiety is far from gone – it has simply ceased to completely cripple me in standard, everyday situations. This goes for all sufferers of depression and anxiety. And so few of those people ever seek medical help, or even talk about these feelings with anyone else. Considering this, it doesn’t surprise me at all that students are having as much trouble as they are!

    I think the most important step to take toward helping these students, and many other people like them, is to make an effort to understand what they are going through. We don’t all have to relate emotionally, but it is important to educate ourselves and those around us about mental health issues and how they work. Everyone should know the physical and psychological reasons for depression and other matters of mental health, as well as how best to respond to them.

  19. This article talks about the rise of anxiety and depression in teens in today’s society.I agree, that there has been a rise in the anxiety and depression with teens and young adults because things are becoming harder and expectations of teenagers are increasing but i also believe that the definition of anxiety and depression has significantly changed as well.

    Now, in the 21 century things are happening faster and pressure is increasing. It’s hard for students to handle the increase in pressure and work load. The students are focusing so much on the increase of school load which means that the students are either choosing to focus so much on the work and not focus on the outside curricular or think that they cannot handle the work load, and give up and stop trying. Students feel pressured to focus on post-grad programs and feel overwhelmed with the price of tuition, the marks, scholarships, and other stressful situations that they cannot focus on the task at hand, which is just focusing on school and experiencing their youth. Students also get so overwhelmed with the price of tuition that they focus on their part-time job and their school work or extra curricular programs tend to lack as well. These anxiety problems can be so overwhelming for students that they feel like they cannot deal with all these teenage problems and then feel like they are helpless.

    College/University students get to university, and some at early ages such as 17/18 and they are so overwhelmed by the freedom and the partying that they get too wrapped up and their schoolwork can fall behind, and then they cannot face their parents because of all the money invested in the schooling that sometimes they take things too far and end up seriously hurting themselves.

    Some things that can help these students and young adults cope are outlets, such as sports, physical activities (gym, running, bike riding, etc) or doing hobbies such as listening to music, art, hanging out with friends or just relaxing. These things can help release stress and let them remember that they are still just kids and that everything is not going to be perfect.

  20. I think that the generations are getting more and more over whelmed from the load of university and high school because we are getting lazier. We were babied all through elementary school and until grade 12 we think of everything as a joke until we realize that next year we need to pick what we want to do with the rest of life. All these years of school have been free for us so to have to pay for it can be over whelming and the prices are very high so many people will have to go into debt before we even get a job. That itself can cause plenty of anxiety taking out loans just to go to school to maybe get a job and pay off the loan. Now nothing us a guarantee we actually have to work for it and we are not really use to that, mom and dad can’t come to do your 3 essays and go to your 3 hour lecture. We now need to learn to balance everything on our own. Trying to balance all of these things at once is hard and can cause plenty of problems for new students, everyone goes through this its not like just a few students go through it. After the first year most people feel more comfortable with the scene. What I’m getting at is not everything in life is easy but ever person deals with the stress differently and people will go through things but most of the time its only for those few years it’s not for the rest of their life.

  21. Many of the students in North America have a very shallow definition of hardship. Unlike previous generations, in their childhood, there was very little they had to work hard for. Growing up, these students were spoiled with the luxury of technology and thus were heavily influenced by the media. The media develops trends and often wrongfully portray beauty, happiness and success. Misguided by these definitions, students develop of poor self-esteem and seek superficial happiness in their teens. Consequently, many inner struggles arise when they are transitioning into their adulthood as seen in universities. For the first time, these students are solely using the internet to study, realizing that money doesn’t grow on trees and having to work hard towards their goals. A goal that might not even be achieved even after years of hard work. So why bother? This fear, uncertainty and anxiety are just so overwhelming these results are bound to happen. However as serious as these effects are, mental illnesses amongst these students are often overlooked. By raising awareness through schools, communities and broadcasts, less people will be victimized. Furthermore, donations towards groups helping with the cause would be appreciated. Lastly, though students run on very tight schedules, maintaining a balance between work and play will greatly help with the stress problems.

  22. The article, The State of Your Mind (Macleans magazine), deals with the rise of anxiety and depression in recent years. I do believe that there has been a significant rise in both anxiety and depression among young people.

    One reason that high school students are suffering more from these mental illnesses is the compression of what once was a five year secondary program into four years. Things are happening faster than ever before, and more work is packed into each year. It’s hard for students to handle the increase. Focusing so much on the increased work load means that the other aspects of high school are often left out. Being with friends, attending the ‘go to’ parties, extra-curricular activities, and part-time jobs have become too much for many students. In addition, the pressure on 17 and 18 year olds to know what they want to do for the rest of their lives can be overwhelming. It is unrealistic to think that young people can possibly know what they will want when they are 50 years old at 17.

    So what can be done to help students with anxiety and depression? First off, teachers and professors need to be adequately educated regarding these mental illnesses. They need to learn to recognize the severity of these conditions and practice strategies for helping students cope. There is so much stigma attached to these illnesses that people are afraid to talk about them. Having a place to go and a person to go to who truly understands what it means to be anxious and/or depressed is crucial. Until a student can speak freely about what they are experiencing, they will be unable to start the healing process.

  23. Frankly, this is the same generation who got medals for participation, were coddled to the point of lunacy, provided everything they ever asked for and much more, enjoyed vacations, wardrobes, vehicles and other luxuries that earlier generations actually had to work hard for, were never held accountable for any of their actions … and now we wonder why they can’t cope? This is the generation in which mothers are determined to be BFF’s instead of parents, who text their kids all day long, who gleefully wear the same clothes as their daughters, who took their 13-year old girls for their first thong and belly-piercing. And we wonder why they can’t cope? These problems are simply now the result of a generation of parents who raised kids to have not an iota of self-sufficiency or accountability.

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