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TEEN SCENE: The kids aren’t alright

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A rise in depression among Island teens is cause for concern

Colby Gallant is a grade 11 student at Bluefield High School completing a co-op placement at The Guardian.
Colby Gallant is a grade 11 student at Bluefield High School completing a co-op placement at The Guardian.

“The Kids Aren’t Alright” is a classic punk milestone by The Offspring. The title was later adopted by Fall Out Boy for a song on their 2015 album “American Beauty/American Psycho”.

I use this bit of trivia not to avoid claims of plagiarism, but to show how long we’ve been aware of themes regarding adolescent life.

Talking about mental health is difficult. That’s not just because it’s prevalent in my life, but because the issue is so deeply personal to so many. It’s almost subjective when people discuss it.

Nonetheless, whether we can thank a largely liberal-dominated media or concerned parents, mental illness among youth has been as upfront as it ever has and, with this comes frightening statistics.

Newport Academy has released a study showing a 33 per cent increase in major depressive disorder among teens since 2013. Teen media, pop-culture and worrying actions have followed suit with this epidemic. Are the teens to blame? No.

I often get enraged speaking on the state of help for Island youth. That’s because some believe as soon as a teen starts taking painkillers or cutting themselves, they’ve engaged in self-destructive behaviour and thus keep themselves in the rut they’re in. Not to lessen the severity of those who struggle, yet cope healthily, but when we have kids not even 16 smoking, drinking, popping pills and cutting in search of euphoria, this should be highly-concerning. I don’t encourage drug use, and, for first-time users, I discourage it.

Combining depression and addiction is one of the most harrowing experiences regardless of age, and most teens enter this lifestyle unknowingly after the initial rush of euphoria. Teen addicts often come from backgrounds where it’s difficult to attain help and find themselves swept under the rug. I want to live on an island where, whether you are an honour roll student or heroin addict, you are valued at the same level, because we’re all human and we all want to be happy.

We have to remember this is a battle with many gateways and inheriting pathways, so support is needed equally among us all.


Colby Gallant is a Grade 11 student at Bluefield High School completing a co-op placement at The Guardian.

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