Kayla Meyer: Crippling our youth’s potential | TheUnion.com

Kayla Meyer: Crippling our youth’s potential


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A close friend of mine used to be much more active and social with others close to her.

Nowadays, she doesn’t engage in as many activities as she used to and interacts less with others, because she has lost complete interest in the world around her.

She isolates herself and puts on a “happy face” most of the time when she does have to be around others. Even when everything in her life may be going smoothly or great, she still feels a sort of emptiness and brokenness. When she finally went to the doctor, she was diagnosed with clinical depression. And although she was referred to the state to receive help for her mental disorder, she was denied care twice, because she had not attempted to commit suicide while struggling with the mental illness.

After seeing my friend’s personality slowly fade away day by day, and knowing she had been denied help, I realized that there are not enough mental health resources for local teenagers struggling with a mental illness.

Denial of mental health care is unfair to adolescents in our local community who have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or some other sort of mental illness.

We need more mental health resources in our local community.

Denial of mental health care is not only unfair to my friend but to the other adolescents in our local community who have depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or some other sort of mental illness. This is a growing problem, as mental health disorders are increasing in our local youth. In fact, Nevada County’s suicide rates are higher than the state of California’s. In addition, suicide is the second leading cause of teen death in the United States. In fact, about 16 Nevada County residents (including teenagers) purposely commit suicide each year. If teens’ mental health statuses are not taken more seriously, more and more of our friends, family members, coworkers, and or acquaintances will make a permanent decision to end how they’re feeling.

Statistically, 32% of California high school students claim to feel depressed, and of those teenagers, 9% of California high school students have attempted to commit suicide more than once. Of those, about 8.3% do self-harm. As for being violent towards others, school shootings and other dangerous situations have occurred. On Feb. 14 of 2018, a 19-year-old by the name of Nikolas Cruz shot 34 students (injuring 17) at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Before committing the crime, Cruz taped a video, essentially explaining how others were going to pay for his pain. He was never truly acknowledged for his issues. If he would have been, the shooting more than likely would not have happened. Logically, if other teenagers suffering from a mental disorder are reached out to and are able to be offered more resources, local data collected on unhealthy teenagers’ minds, school shootings, and suicide rates could decrease.

Our community should take local youth’s mental health more seriously by funding more local mental health clinics and resources. The financially supported services could open up the possibility of more local teens getting the help they need to move past or at least carefully handle their mental health disorder. Nobody, but especially children and teens, should be denied access to mental health care during some of the most significant developmental stages of their lives. It is not their fault nor their choice to feel or be that way, and they should not have to suffer the consequences of there being a lack of mental health services being offered.

Kayla Meyer lives in Grass Valley.

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