Letter to the editor: Talk with teens to help them better deal with societal pressures
Increasingly, precious lives are taken to suicide. COVID-19 may exacerbate mental health struggles, but we as a people remain dangerously blind to suicide. The complexity of this widespread issue and its encompassing components cannot be a cause for dismissal.
For decades, Summit County has exhibited suicide rates significantly higher than the national average. I remember the loss of a sixth grader last year and the recent deaths of two promising high school students, all in Summit School District.
Students — all growing up in a complex and unprecedented world — should never feel so much pressure as to take their own life. Our student population is pressured immensely — unreasonably — by school work, family life, job opportunities, finding a career and the fear of failing to meet these outrageous, rising societal standards. And in our efforts to succeed, do the best and have the highest grades, our mental health suffers. The fear that the next “tragic incident” will contain one of my friend’s names — as it could have once contained mine — is insurmountable.
As an 18-year-old college student who’s witnessed the modern school system first hand and struggled copiously with my own mental health, I challenge you:
- Talk. We may not want to talk with our parents. Completely all right. So parents, talk about mental health. Tell us it’s OK to struggle and that we don’t have to bear the world alone. We really do want to be here; sometimes it’s simply too much.
- Help us. Ease off perfect grades, outstanding appearance and achievements. Sometimes a mistake, a failure, is when we will learn the most and come back stronger.
- Get to know us. The students, as we grow up. The next generation: one where no student’s face is missing from class graduation photos.
And we will thank you.
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