No laughing matter

millennials desensitized to depression and suicide

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Brooke Bettes

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Photo by: Brooke Bettes

“UGH, KILL ME.”

Echoing against the walls in the hallways the sounds of more and more students claiming this serious statement. The shocking rise of these words has baffled some people. Undoubtedly, teens these days have less sensitivity to extreme topics such as suicide, violence and depression. The pressure of school, work and social requirements cause these more serious topics to be more open and common among them. Some teens do not have remotely anything close to suicidal thoughts; however, whenever a minor inconvenience occurs they claim they want to ‘die’.

A psychology teacher, Stephen Alonge, feels very strongly about the topic of suicide. He believes teens focus only on the here and now instead of 20 or 30 years down the road. In modern days humans have less connection to each other in real life than ever. Teens do not realize how serious of an impact their lives have on this world. Whenever Alonge teaches about suicide and mental illnesses, he always makes sure to tell the students that, “you start remembering stuff at about 5 or 6 and now you’re about 17, so you have a small window of what you’ve experienced. There’s 60 more years in front of you there should be a big slideshow of life“ rather than a small slideshow. Young people’s values have much more distinctness than something as simple as that.

A cause of suicide comes from the individual not feeling wanted or loved. Everybody in the world faces different situations and points. Ask somebody about their day or the thoughts on their mind. Brandon Stanton, a photographer in New York, started “Humans of New York” where he goes around and asks people those same questions then takes a picture of them to share their story on his blog. This shows how everybody we pass in the hallways or on the street goes through different trials every day and how these experiences have qualities worth sharing.

Sometimes the stories that travel from person to person do not always hold truth. If the greater half of teens claim they want to die, or that they have depression, than the few that struggle with these burdens tend to fall to the side due to others crying wolf. Satirical conversations about death minimize the weight some truly carry.

The topic of suicide tends to have more heavy and morbid feelings along with it, but recently the comments of ‘I’m going to kill myself’ has made appearances in light-hearted settings. Just because a test has a failing grade, or mud got on those brand new shoes does not mean a person should make exclamations involving death. According to World Life Expectancy between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of depression. If somebody makes the serious claim of being depressed, then try to talk to them. Continue to talk to them and eventually befriend them since depressed teens have an increased risk of taking their own life by 12 times than that of a normal teenager.

Joking about this topic should bring frowns or tears instead of smiles since many teens every year have taken their own life causing them to be reduced to something uncomparable, such as a slideshow, to the life they lived and should have continued. Suicide, depression, and anxiety have no reason to have a humorous tone considering they change lives for the worst.