By Vanly Keomuda
When we are children, we are told that we will become the ones that impact the world when we grow up. We are raised with the idea that we are the hope and future force that will make the world a better place. However little did we know back then that the journey to empower the world is not an easy one because we have to struggle through the transition from the age of childhood to adolescence. Getting through adolescence is one of the hardest parts of growing up as there are many unexpected emotional changes — depression, anxiety, identity crisis — that we need to cope with and, as it happens, sometimes, a few of us may not make it through.
According to Schrobsdorff (2016), approximately 11.5 percent of adolescents are diagnosed with mental disorders in the form of depression, anxiety disorders, and impulse control disorder. These mental illnesses result in serious issues like self-harm, eating disorders, anorexia and in some cases, teen suicide.
Because teenagers are suffer from depression, it should also be us, the young people who can help each other getting through this time which can be very difficult for some. We can help those undergoing depression by providing emotional support , and being empathetic towards them, and letting them know that they are not alone and that there are people out there who care about them.. Even though we may not be experts on the issue, the least we can do to help is to console them and be the ones that they can rely on in their time of need.
Another way to that we can promote a loving and caring environment for teenagers who are going through emotional struggles is through social media. That is, by putting our social media platforms to good use, instead of bad i.e. cyberbully.
Unfortunately, technological innovation and social media, have also provided a platform for cyberbullying. According to TeenSafe (2016), 87 percent of youth today have witnessed cyberbullying and close to 34 percent acknowledge that they have experienced it. Bullying, in any form, may have traumatising effects on the emotional health of the victims. The same source above has also stated that 30 percent of the victims are reported to turn to self-harm, another 30 percent experience suicidal thoughts, and 10 percent have attempted to take their own life.
I think that, instead of using our social media to bully other teenagers, we should use it to promote positive messages and make it a platform that allows teens to express all their anxieties and difficulties.
There are plenty of ways that we can put our social media accounts to good use. For example, we can create a trend supporting teenagers to open-up about their feelings. Or we can simply send a check up on the person that seems to be suffering emotionally. By doing small things like this, we can transform the world of social media into a bigger, more caring and more loving society. We can also inspire others around the globe to pay more attention to the victims of mental illnesses around them, and perhaps offer ways that they can help those people too .
The mental health of the teenagers is very important because, like our parents told us when we were children, we are the ones that will grow up to change the world.
The hope of transforming the world into a better place relies heavily on our shoulders. That is why we need all the help we can get, and we need to support each other, in order for everyone to make it through to the future. The responsibility of providing emotional support to youth lies on everyone — from young people to adults. The responsibility starts from each and every one of us.
Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.