Teen suicides are severely on the rise today. Are teenagers more troubled today than before? Have our lifestyle choices started impacting kids right from a very early age? Have schools become increasingly competitive? Or are family structures more irregular and disturbed than previously? There isn’t any conclusive answer to the grim reality of worsening mental health among teenagers today.
Modernity, millenials and increasing alienation
Awareness about mental health has undeniably increased among today’s youth. Hence acknowledgement too has heightened. However often people from a generation back, including for instance, our parents seem to find mental health pretty unrelatable, not as convinced of its status as a dire disease as are we. ‘But we never faced it’ is a common refrain one will find among the senior or elderly. True, there wasn’t any awareness and true hence the problem seemed to be made invisible in older times. But the fact that melancholia is like a plague for modernity is pretty undeniable too. We live in lonely times. We feel alienated in the work or personal spaces we inhabit. A lot of times study pressure, feelings of worthlessness tied up to low academic yield, bullying and unkindness from peers force teens towards the extreme.
Families and relationships no longer have the adhesive of solidarity and come with ingrained dysfunctionalities. Teenagers today are a lot more independent to make their life choices and decisions. Departure from tradition has several benefits of its own as does change have unavoidable consequences. A whole array of problems open up when youngsters stop living limited lives like olden times. The malaise of mental health is a big one among the whole lot modernity throws at young adults.
Why the Extreme Step?
There isn’t any definitive response or reason to be traced for this. Depression and several other illnesses bring hopelessness and death-like feelings in their wake. Hence a severely afflicted individual might veer towards choosing death as the ultimate step. However digital media is responsible often for exacerbating mental illness, several youth cults glorifying extreme measures, digital challenges prodding young people, and oftentimes a daredevil tendency among youngsters stemming from an under-evaluation of what suicide actually entails. There are multi-faceted dimensions to teen suicides. The triggers are varied, complex and arise from complicated situations modern teens have to face.
In our following series on the issue, we delve into the various triggers in depth.