by Rossy Peralta, Asst. La Voz Editor
Over the years, discussions of mental illness have increased because of awareness programs and people opening up about their struggles. This year, freshmen were given information about a program called Signs of Suicide, also known as S.O.S. This program for teens teaches about the symptoms of depression, specifically suicidal thoughts.
According to Elyssas Mission, an organization that provides the resources to support at-risk teens and to prevent suicide, some of the warning signs of suicidal thoughts include expressing the belief that life is meaningless, having a lack of motivation, feeling hopelessness and more.
Although some students may not take S.O.S seriously, can’t relate to it or don’t see it as useful, there may be other students who are too scared to talk about it and who will benefit from S.O.S.
I’ve been dealing with depressive feelings and thoughts since I was 10 years old. A year after, I developed an unhealthy coping skill. Over the years, these feelings got worse, but I never knew why. Once I got to high school, I learned about depression in a similar program to S.O.S., and I asked for help.
I learned that there are about 5,400 attempts of suicide in teens between seventh grade to 12th grade. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses, and around 10 million Americans suffer with bipolar disorder. Most important, I learned that I wasn’t alone.
When I was 15, I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety disorder, and a year after, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. It was a difficult time for me and my family. It was hard to admit that I was struggling with my emotions, but at the same time, it gave my family the opportunity to get close. Shortly after my first diagnosis, I began therapy where I learned to work on developing healthy coping skills, and I was prescribed medication that helped regulate my moods.
Now at 17, I am transitioning out of therapy. I still struggle with my unhealthy skill, but I’m in recovery, and I’ve met people who inspire me everyday.
Adding S.O.S. to the curriculum is a great way to spread awareness. The program similar to S.O.S. gave me the courage to ask for help. If more people are informed about mental illness, people won’t have to deal with their problems on their own. If you or someone is dealing with suicidal thoughts, tell an adult. You’re not the only one dealing with this problem.