Each year, approximately 1 in 8 teenagers deal with thoughts of or relating to suicide or self-harm. According to PR Web, this statistic increases as teenagers continue into adulthood. These thoughts are most often the result of depression, but other causes are constant bullying, mental illnesses and disorders and lack of acceptance of oneself. Suicide or self-mutilation is seen as a way of relieving oneself from the hardships of dealing with these feelings. Most consider warning signs of suicide or self-harm in teenagers to be sadness, hostility, agitation, self-harm and precursory thoughts of suicide. However, other signs, which are equally important, include lack of motivation and energy, change in diet and sleeping habits and withdrawal from social situations. According to HelpGuide.org, the best way to help an individual with depression is by listening to his or her problems, validating his or her feelings and encouraging social activity.
A club at UHS caters to the psychological health problem in teenagers. The founder of this club, Denise Zhou (Jr.), had a friend who struggled with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. Zhou said that after researching and talking to adults about these topics, she “realized that many people were misinformed or oblivious to the realities of mental health, suicide and topics of the like.” This realization prompted her to start a club, A Great Perhaps, in order to raise awareness and help teenagers deal with their situations. Zhou said that A Great Perhaps is meant to benefit individuals as well as society as a whole by allowing high students to “see beyond the stigma that dictates that teenagers do not have problems and are just overdramatic.” A Great Perhaps does not counsel students, but it does provide hope and support for students who are struggling or know someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts and self-injury and directs those students to the right people who can help them. Zhou believes that A Great Perhaps has made a difference in the lives of others; the members of the club regularly attend the meetings and actively participate during meetings to further educate themselves on these issues. A Great Perhaps meets on Thursdays every week in Mr. Garcia’s classroom (room 215).
By MONICA LAFERLA