The truth about teen depression | Megan Shinnick | TEDxYouth@BeaconStreet

The truth about teen depression | Megan Shinnick | [email protected]


Translator: Ana Díaz Moreno
Reviewer: Denise RQ About a month ago today,
I sat on the edge of my hospital bed, and I asked myself
the simple question, “Why?” I had worked for years to be where I was, a young social activist, who co-created
two successful non-profit organizations, a good student, and an even better friend, and a girl who never lacked
positivity nor energy. I asked myself why I had ignored
what was going on in my head for so long, simply to maintain this reputation. I had already accomplished
so much in my life, when strange things began happening to me. When even though I was incredibly
academically motivated in the past, I couldn’t seem to do homework, and I removed myself from friends,
I didn’t answer my phone for a week, and I refused to go to school, and getting out of my bed
in the morning seemed impossible. Now, looking back, I realize that I had to redefine
what success was. Because if everything I’d done
in my life, leading up to that point, deemed me successful,
why was I siting in the hospital? I realize that my ability
to find this new normal, my ability to adapt
to this new-found empathy, that’s what made me successful. Being got diagnosed
with clinical depression is what it took for me
to realize what success was. Though I could go on, I’m not here
to simply tell you all about my story. I am here to tell you why I think
this is happening not only to me but to a dangerous number
of teenagers in this country. A statistics that is increasing every year and why each one of you needs to advocate
for programs and schools for teens that are suffering from
depression and anxiety. Depression in our society is not obvious when you are walking down
the street or the hallway, but simply open your laptops,
your smartphones, your tablets, and do maybe one Google search,
and you will be blown away. After my one Google search, I found that after a study
conducted in this spring, 1.6 million Tumblr blogs were examined and of those, 200,000 contained
pictures, videos, and text posts of teenagers hurting themselves
due to depression. Is it because we now have the technology
to express an ever-present feeling or is it something greater? Is it just a coincidence that school systems and standardized
tests are getting harder and college acceptance rates
are going down, and the pressures to be
stereotypical men or women are everywhere? Is it possible that we, that this society,
is the thing responsible for the increasing disease
that is more than capable of killing? And we don’t talk about it much because it is often deemed a phase,
or hormones, or being overemotional. Oftentimes, conversations regarding
mental illnesses such as depression result in words being thrown around
that are nearly irrelevant. Depression is not the emotion sadness. Depression is a state
of being below neutrality. Sadness is an emotion that comes
and goes just as happiness does. My biggest pet peeve is when someone comes
up and says something along the lines of: “I’m sorry, I was just depressed earlier,
I’m so depressed right now.” Depression does not just come
and go, it’s there. And it is the third largest cause of death
among teenagers in this country. 4,400 kids commit suicide a year, and for everyone of those,
at least 100 attempt. So now, I am standing here
asking you all the same simple question I asked myself when I was
in the hospital: why? But this time it’s: “Why we are
not doing more to prevent this?” My school has a Bridge program for kids that are transitioning in
from an extended absence. Many of us had suffered from
severe depression and severe anxiety, and many of us said
the program had saved our lives because it puts our mental health first. How can we be expected
to be successful in life and go to a good college,
and have a good career, if the pressure is too overwhelming,
and we don’t even finish high school? “Bridge” talks to our parents, teachers, anyone we need to know what is going on
in order to help us cope. The Bridge team consists
of an academic coordinator who has the weirdest taste in music, like this guy is either listening
to Bob Marley or tribal music, there is really none in between. We have a mental health specialist
who is obsessed with mini butterfingers. An intern who is insanely
good at bananagrams, and another intern who,
though is very smart and goes to Harvard, has yet to advance past two songs
on the guitar this year. But even so, this four people have become
a both necessary and life changing asset in mine and other Bridge students’ lives. I am here to ask you all a quick favour,
a quick favour to advocate to schools, advocate to your school boards
for these programs. Because when I was in the mental hospital, I met a girl, we can call her Jane, and Jane had been there for weeks and I’d never met someone
who understood what I was going through, and now I know that she felt
the exact pain, had the exact fear as me, she had been there for weeks, it was her third hospitalization
and her school had no support for her. I told her about Bridge,
and she was blown away that something like that existed. We shouldn’t have to wait
for this statistics to get higher, and the number of teens to skyrocket, because if we have the power to raise
100 million dollars in a month for ALS, we have the power to advocate
to schools for programs. I’m in the process of creating
another non-profit organization of which provides schools
with funding necessary to create these programs for teens. So please be on the lookout for that. But in the meantime, if you don’t have depression
or if you don’t know anyone who does, advocate for the 10% to 15% of our society
that are suffering from this disease. We are so blessed to live in
a country where our voices, our voices are meant to be heard,
and they actually mean something. So if just some of you,
who listen to me talk today, advocate to your school boards and beg,
plead, demand that programs are set up, and maybe you start a petition,
and it’s for school funder’s support, whatever you do, just do something,
the impact would be life changing. Together, we can fight this disease
that is controlling so many of us. And if you’re out there,
you’re dealing with the depression, turn the energy that you have
towards hatred for this awful thing into energy for change. Because together we can fight back, and we can’t let it win,
we can’t let depression win anymore. It’s time to fight back. Thank you. (Applause)

100 thoughts on “The truth about teen depression | Megan Shinnick | [email protected]

  1. for all of you suffering with mental disorders,, i cant promise it will get better or change but i can promise there is someone out there that cares and would hate to see you go. stay strong and look for better days. just remember there are those around you that would miss you greatly if you were to take your own life.
    put down the blade or anything that you may you to harm yourself and take a deep breath. if you think no one loves you or cares about you, someone does i promise. stay strong loves.

  2. I like going to school because it distracts me from my depression
    Today it got to me and I started crying in class nobody saw people in my class saw and they didn’t care. Pray for me it’s hurting me and taking control feel like I will lose my mind, I said I’m suicidal and they just laugh at me I felt so bad.

  3. My school really needs a program for this, the teachers pay no attention. I have cooking supplies in my school so we bake a lot but I had to pin my friend down to keep her from waffle ironing her hands off. This happens almost all the time but no one who can get her help seems to know or care.

  4. i hate how my mom thinks i hate her and i'm ungrateful for the things i have because i sleep 20 hours at a time (when possible) and my room becomes a disaster, but i really just can't because my depression is so bad that simple little tasks like throwing clothes in a hamper or washing my face is a huge accomplishment

  5. If u are depressed or even suicidal u won’t be commenting on this video cause if u do then u r faking it

  6. I’m always hearing things like „I have a depressed period“ „I’m feeling depressed today“ „I am mentally unstable“…
    It always sounds like it’s something cool and special for those who say it. I think a lot of these teens don’t even know what they are saying. When I recommend to get professional help than it’s always „…not like that…“
    Because of this insane mental illness HYPE no one cares anymore when someone wants to talk about their serious problems.

  7. I can be really really depressed in a particular time but most of the time I’m just like depressed, I do quizzes to see if I’m suffering from depression and I get high range,once I got severe depression

  8. Self harm doesn't necessarily come from depression (I guess the same goes for suicide but I'm truly not sure)

  9. If I get anxiety over a test or something my mom just yells at me to study and what does worrying do for you instead of having a good conversation with me.

  10. one day I was in the school hallway and some classmates where discussing about 13 reasons why,, one of them (my best friend, or so I thought) said "there was the trend of people cutting themselves". She knows about my depression, she knows that I used to cut. Now I don't tell her my feelings and emotions anymore because, being a 18 year old girl with also bpd, she was one of the few people that I trusted and now because of it I can't trust anyone else. She didn't apologize. Two months ago she was diagnosed with anorexia and its been so difficult helping and just being around her. The thing that makes absolutely angry is that if I ever said "theres the trend starving to death" I would literally bee demonized and punched in the face by everyone. WE NEED to stop thinking that depression is somehow a 'privilege' because maybe you don't suffer from anything else that to other people seems heavier and more difficult to live with.

  11. My mom thinks I'm using depression as a excuse to get away with responsibilities I've tried really hard to make her understand but she never does

  12. I belong to a middle class family .my mom told me that I am acting weird because I am not poor and I do not know how to struggle ! I wish I could tell her how lonely I am .
    I really thought she was the only one who will understand me but I guess I have noone to talk to

  13. 2:48 being told it's my hormones and because I'm a teenager and it's a 'difficut ' time does not help me whatsoever

  14. Me: *sitting in a chair thinking about regerts *

    Mom: you piece of sh.t go do something.

    Me: next day well this is it anxiety, you win, just give me that gun and finish this sh!t life.
    :,(

  15. You can really feel the emotion in her voice and about how passionate she is about this. She is such an inspiration and needs to be recognised and so does the points she make.

  16. This generation is messed up on the point where people can get away with faking being suicidal and having depression and anxiety 😭😭

  17. I just got so upset when she started talking about Tumblr because I was once one of those teens that would post stuff like that on there. It's been 4 years since the last time I tried to commit suicide, you are strong and you can come out on top.

  18. I hate when people just say " i am so depressed" or somethng like i" have depression." Depression is a serious thing and not just SAD. Also depression does NOT only come from being sad or anything . I love TEDx Talks because i just love hearing other people's story.

  19. Deppression is a mental state of Over thinking and the identification with it. The moment you start to pay attention to the gap between your thoughts and create momentum of the gap and start to live in it deppression will be just a word and not a feeling.

  20. Oh boyyy, well I have ptsdc, depression, anxiety and schizophrenia. I’m 15 And living sucks I have attempted suicide too many times to remember. My school counselers don’t do much besides say “that’s so bad for you” or “we need to call a actual service”. The first time the school actually took “action” in mental health issues was when I was when I brought a rope to school to kms after I had moved in with my friend. These people only know how to listen to teenage girls cry about their boyfriend breaking up with them or their friends being mean and tell the teachers how depressed they just got that day. And that sucks too.

  21. There is something else at play because when I was young kids made fun of each other and were cruel at times and also bulloed each other a lot but no one was commiting suicide. I believe the answer lies in that the family has been under attack for some time now and in a lot of instances there is no one home with their children. Single parent families are at an all time high placing more pressure on children. Then you have helcopter and lawn mower parents that don't teach resilience which is the number one weapon against this.

  22. There is something else at play because when I was young kids made fun of each other and were cruel at times and also bulloed each other a lot but no one was commiting suicide. I believe the answer lies in that the family has been under attack for some time now and in a lot of instances there is no one home with their children. Single parent families are at an all time high placing more pressure on children. Then you have helcopter and lawn mower parents that don't teach resilience which is the number one weapon against this.

  23. We are not 'Hard-wired' to go to school, to be ripped away from our Parents and taken to strangers. The 1% designed the Public Government School for 'YOU' not them. Why peeps, why do you send your kids there, to be 'Taught' by who? are you kidding me. Do you think Michael Bloomberg would send his daughter to a Public NYC School? C'mon man, this is one plus one stuff.

  24. My country was the world's first when it came to the number of suicides for nearly 20 years. A lot has changed since then politically and the living standards have become a LOT better, but we are still the ninth on the list. Noone cares. Noone does anything. I don't think it's as bad as it is in the USA, but people actually don't get help. In some places, there are school therapists, but you don't just go in and speak to them, I still have no idea how this all works. I suppose if you told your teacher, they could arrange it, but mental health is such a taboo, that most of the nobody dares to speak about it to anyone. As if we were taught that your mental health is something, that is only your responsibility, and asking for help is shameful. I wish there were programs to find, and help people who need it, but there aren't many. Especially in schools.

  25. I got diagnosed with 'General Anxiety Disorder', along with a few other things, by a neurophysiologist who was using Pearson brand psych evaluations. You know, the same brand that controls all of the textbooks around the world, and controls schools? Yeah. So, instead of trying to figure out any root cause or help me figure it out, they suggested I go to meds. NO THANKS. I wish schools actually cared about mental health instead of tests and money.

    Just 'cause I'm not doing well, doesn't mean it's hormones, laziness, or all together with my fault. It means I am being forced day in and day out to be dehumanized by a place that claims it's giving kids and teens 'education'. So to all schools stuck in the system, I got a question for you.

    If you're supposed to be teaching young minds and helping them prepare for the future, then why are you creating a prison of useless memorization that causes and worsens all mental health, without taking into account that your students are human beings?

  26. I first found out that I had depression I was 12 (in 6th grade) you can tell what my parents and teachers said it was either “it is because of school” or “she is crazy” or ignoring me

  27. she is so strong-minded and succesfull person, that I would be kind of scared being in the same room with her 😀 (just kidding)

  28. “I was a teen once too, don’t tell me your DEPRESSED. Your not depressed. It’s just your horomones and puberty. What, are you on your period? That’s probably why.”

    No, mom, dad, I’m not on my period. No, mom, dad, this is not a phase. No, this is not puberty, or hormones, or whatever you throw at my face. This is a real issue, and if you don’t do something about it, your other two daughters? Yea, my twin? You know, the one that’s been with me all my life? She’ll become twin-less. She’ll become a purple butterfly. Your youngest couldn’t care less because she bullies me almost everyday, and when I tell you you get mad and blame me for her bullying me. I AM NOT OKAY. Stop telling me that it’s “just a phase”, mom, dad, and get me the help I deserve, and need.

  29. People Don’t Want to Kill Themselves They Just Don’t Know How to Kill the Pain!!!!!!!!!

    Every Thunderstorm Runs Out of Rain!!!!!!

  30. Depression is sadly often a new age lame excuse for laziness that people use as a pity card. Sure, people can be depressed, but calling yourself depressed for attention or the make people feel bad for you is pathetic.

  31. I have a 9.5 average grade in English BUT the teacher wrote a comment saying that I needed to participate more in class.

  32. I hate when I just can’t take it anymore so I cry or scream and my some of my family are like are you on your period and I’m like noooooo, why even ask that, I just couldn’t take it anymore so I screamed ok. I’m not on my period. It is not my hormones. It is me. I give up.

  33. Sometimes teenagers are mistaken for being moody, but sometimes it true, but most parents not all of them do end up pushing them to the side, and try to help them themselves without speaking to them directly, instead some parents end up assuming.

  34. Most teens who cut themselves are not suicidal, they just want people to notice them. Most of them could never commit suicide.

  35. Depression stems from being ungrateful. Sure some may be suffering from actual depressive disorders but the mass majority of people who say they're depressed are ungrateful for the family, friends, and material things they have. Everyone feels sad and that things in their life are out of their control, but it is up to them to make a conscious effort to concentrate on the good in their life. In the span of a year i lost a very close family member, my cat, my wife left, i cut off my finger by accident, was on workmens comp and lost my house and my car. Was I depressed? Sure but i made the effort to concentrate on what i had left. Be grateful for the things in your life because there is always someone worse off then you…

  36. Does anyone else come to videos like these and write out paragraphs of things their feeling, then read over it a couple of times just to sigh and click the cancel button?

  37. i was thinking about showing this to my dad but im 12 so i'm not a teenager yet and my dad would just think nothing of it i had an incident a couple years back where my dad caught me with a knife he took me to therapy and i completely lied to the therapist so my dad thought i was just trying to get attention an that i'm too negative and that i don't work hard enough on my tests and hw but the problem is is that i'm not in the mental state to do that and i've tried to tell him but he just doesn't understand.

  38. 3:03
    This woman is probably thinking

    “Luckily my children aren’t depressed, they’re just lazy and are going through puberty”

  39. Yes, I agree with her. People who can, should do what they can. Especially if they're in such a country. Not all countries are rich enough to actually have visible advancements. I have bipolar 2/manic depression. My depression lasted years, 8 years to be exact. Everyday felt like being depressed was my normal state of mind. It ruined my education. My school and university never cared for my mental health.

  40. Please don’t kill yourself. I was depressed for a while after I started middle school. 7th grade was miserable. I lay in bed in my dark uncleared bedroom, I watched depressing videos on YouTube, only got up to go to the bathroom or grab more food. And I was always eating food. But only junk food. Now that I look back at it and all of the things I did only made me more depressed. I felt like my head was a balloon floating up in space, I felt alone and scared and sad and weird. I didn’t trust anyone. I felt hopeless.

    I don’t know how, I don’t know what I did. But I woke up a few months later, I woke up and realized I didn’t feel hopeless anymore. I wasnt depressed. I promise you that you will wake up one morning and realize that you no longer have depression. I promise you that day will come. All you have to do is not kill yourself

  41. Me and my 3 other friends saved a boy in our class. He was diagnosed with depression, he had considered suicide once but couldnt do it, he was being bullied in school cause he was kinda chubby (and still is). But now weve been 5 really good friends for over a year and he gets along with others in our class well now. All because of a simple thing thats callled being friendly. So please do not bully others, even if you dont take it seriously and think youre joking around, cause you dont know what they are experiencing.

  42. why? the problem is the attitude, not depression, problem will stay in this world forever, even new one will emerge and the only thing that is the main problem is how you cope with the problem. It's starts from before depression itself, what we need to focus is to teach young generation nowadays who were too weak to focus on themselves to learn to love themselves and not seek love from social media and love their family and learn how to manage problem. Prevent is better than curing.

  43. Ya.. I do know depression and that's the reason I clicked but I have to say that I had such a hard time listening to her because I felt like she was attacking me with the way that she was speaking and her tone…
    My advise is notice the way that you speak, it'll help people want to listen to you and follow your words.

  44. Thank you, girl, for saying that depression does not just come and go and neither do other mental illnessess/disabilities. They just are.
    I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 8 and I will have it my whole life, no matter how much you try to force me into focus training. It might help a bit, but it will not make it go away.
    I have depression and it won't go away just because you tell me I'm not worthless. It might help a bit, but it will not make it go away.

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