This article was originally published on February 18, 2019
Teen life is very demanding. Adults often say “it is the best time of your life, enjoy it.” However, in reality, teens suffer through depression, bullying, peer pressure, abuse and emotional moments. School itself encumbers a tremendous amount of stress and responsibilities on teens’ shoulders; friendship and relationship problems are difficult to deal with. Living up to the society’s ideal norms, one’s self-esteem, and popular trends is hard.
With media constantly sending us indirect messages that we are not “cool enough,” the path of discovering one’s identity adds a substantial load of complexity to the lives of teenagers. Everyone goes through struggles, yet the pain becomes unbearable once we feel like no one is there for you, and there is no way out.
That is what drives inumerable teens today to make the choice with no turning back: suicide. Each day in our nation, there are an average of over 3,041 teens attempting suicide. Furthermore, suicide is the second leading cause for teen deaths. You may think that these statistics do not affect you, but your son or daughter, or even your best friend may be going through such struggles. Conversation is critical at the moment.
In the pretentious world that only embraces positivity, it is extremely challenging to reveal one’s genuine feelings, or just to be vulnerable. The fear of not being accepted traps oneself in dismal walls of isolation. Browsing through social media, and seeing other teens posts about beautiful sunsets, joyful birthday parties, smiling selfies, and flawless looks, may create a bigger emotional hole especially when you are depressed. It may unintentionally create an atmosphere where revealing one’s true self deviates from what society deems as “normal.”
No one wants to share that they’re physically being abused by their parents, that their boyfriend whom they loved wholeheartedly had been cheating on them, or even the fact that their life is miserable. In addition, psychological studies show that approximately one out of five teens are living with severe mental illness such as depression and social disorders, but only a few actually speak up about it. It is just so hard to open our mouths for help nowadays.
Whatever teens are going through, Teen Line is there to listen. Teen Line is a hotline for teens run by a team of compassionate teen volunteers trained by mental health professionals. It offers teens the strength to understand and navigate their pain, and the coping skills and resources to thrive in phases of hardship.On teen line, no problem is too small to be heard.
Jenny Pascal, the Teen Line Training Director, sends a message to all teens going through struggles: “Being a teenager can be really difficult. Sometimes it feels like you are the only one having a hard time because of the way other teens seem on the surface. Finding someone to talk to about what you are going through may not root out your problems, but it can definitely lift up the burden and loneliness. Teen line provides a safe, confidential place to talk about the issues you are facing. Our dedicated teen volunteers are here to listen and understand your perspective more readily.”
Teen Line is open from 6 to 10 pm everyday, accepting calls, emails, and texts from all around the world. For more information, visit www.teenlineonline.org or visit Teen Line’s official Instagram page @teenlineonline!
Goeun Lee, Grade 11
Larchmont Charter School