Blog Post #3 – Import People in my Life’s Ideas

I decided that mental health issues and depression, especially among teens and young adults, was a topic I definitely wanted to dig deeper into. I decided to interview my mom, my dad, and one of my best friends – I knew that they would all have strong ideas and views on depression and mental health issues. Upon interviewing them, I found that I was able to learn a lot from their ideas, and expand my views in ways I hadn’t even thought of.

The first person I interviewed was my mom. She explained a lot to me how she thought that mental health issues and depression can occur within people you would never expect, because of things you wouldn’t necessarily expect either. For example, she talked a lot about pressure in school – pressure to get good grades, to live up to parents’ expectations, to get into the best colleges, etc, and how those everyday pressures can sometimes be big factors in depression. She told me how although some people are born with mental health issues and some people develop them over time because of their environment, a lot of people develop depression from everyday things. One thing she thought of to help youth with mental health issues/depression is creating a lasting safe space for them to communicate their feelings without feeling attacked. What she meant by a “lasting safe space” is to help provide them with a place where even after they’ve recovered, their past feelings and conversations won’t haunt them – a place where they will always feel safe no matter how long it’s been since the last time they were there. One thing she talked about was something I had never really ever thought about before. She explained how for some people, they feel so isolated and alone that they just crave belonging, and depression suddenly becomes a lifestyle. She thought that incorporating the whole “it gets better” idea could possibly help to open people’s minds to the idea that there is a world beyond their depression.

The next person I interviewed was my dad. He had the idea of somehow sharing the stories of people who have recovered from mental health issues, to show teens who are depressed that they are not alone, and that it will get better. He thought that sharing specific, relatable stories to young adults could help them realize that the way they are feeling is normal, and that it is possible to recover and get better. Whether it was in person, in a film/documentary, or simply a written story, he thought that the power of an experience could really help benefit the teens.

The last person I talked to was one of my best friends. She thought that spreading awareness is a huge part of helping people overcome their mental health issues. She explained how talking about depression in schools more could help, because hearing these messages in an educational environment can be very powerful. She also explained how people needed to seek help for either themselves or someone they know the second they notice any signs of depression. She thought that stopping a problem before it gets a chance to escalate is key. She talked about the importance of understanding that depression is not a joke, and that there are help options out there.

These three important people in my life helped me to expand my views and ideas about mental health issues and depression to great new lengths, and to think about things in a whole new light. I can’t wait to start thinking more about what each of them said, and how I can use their ideas to help me.

Rae Kanarick

10 Responses to “Blog Post #3 – Import People in my Life’s Ideas

  • Dear Rae,
    I love this piece. I feel like is really hard to navigate depression because it shows up differently in everyone, but what your parents and friend said was really interesting. I learned a lot from this and it had a lot of good information!

  • Hi Rea,
    Something that was super interesting to me was when you said: “mental health issues and depression can occur within people you would never expect, because of things you wouldn’t necessarily expect either”. This relates to a lot of my experience at school currently. This topic is definitely something that needs to considered more often. Thanks for making space to make it happen as that is super powerful. Something that I wonder is how could you dive deeper into this topic within Vermont? Would you consider neurologists or counselors? Maybe even someone completely different.
    Have a good weekend
    Meredith

    • sorry I completely misspelled your name.

    • Thanks for the reply! I’m glad to hear that I am starting to make a space for this topic to be discussed. You asked a very good question. I think getting counselors in VT involved is a really cool idea, and I could definitely go somewhere with it. Thanks for taking the time to read my post!

  • Hi Rae, it’s just surprising to me how much of all these people you’ve talked to have different answers, but they all go together as they are. Finding a place that will allow them to express themselves is really important because making them speak and liberating their heart is so helpful. I still prefer what your father said; learning from others’ experiences is one of the best ways to solve this problem. When a person knows there have been other people who have worked the same situation as they, they can hold the blows and say to themselves: “if the others have succeeded in this situation, then I can too” . It’s motivating!
    What your friend said is as precious as the rest. Attacking a problem by its root is a way to prevent it from spreading. I really liked reading your post.
    Bernice

    • Thank you, Bernice! I agree with you that sharing someone’s story can be one of the most powerful ways to try to solve a problem. If someone can relate to the story being shared, it can help them to realize that they are not the only ones going through tough things. I look forward to hearing more from you!

  • Hi Rae,

    Thanks for this and thanks for sharing the progression of your thinking and exploration from your previous post.

    This is a difficult topic. As the founder of Young Writers Project, I experienced firsthand hundreds, perhaps, thousands of kids writing — directly, honestly about their confusion, their sadness, their feelings of being isolated and unappreciated and, yes, depression. I had one young person who I discovered, by accident, was being beaten by his father. Another had FIVE accounts on our site and had been writing voluminously on each account (and commenting to “each” other) in entirely different voices, different writing styles. And we have had at least two youths that we knew who committed suicide. This is an important topic for youths and for adults. There is stigma attached to it so problems are hidden, repressed, stuck on the top shelf of a closet. So I applaud your desire to do something to open people’s minds about it.

    I think depression is the last understood. The word itself is a throw-away, used to describe how we’re feeling after losing a game, or getting a bad grade or not getting a part in a play. But it’s clinical. It’s insidious. And there is no question that conditions at school, among peers, on social media contribute to the isolation felt by those who suffer from depression.

    Perhaps an angle to take would be to talk with people who are clinically depressed, or talk to schools that have had to overcome a suicide or a tragic accident. I think your strategy for storytelling might be to share some powerful stories of what it’s like and to provide a foundation of statistics and identification of some of the basic issues…

    Thanks so much for sharing this. Let me know how I can help as you begin to refine your approach.

    geoff

    • Thank you so much for this response. The experiences you described are very powerful, and help to show me just how serious of a topic depression really is. I like your idea to talk to people / schools who have experience the results of depression, and get their side of the story. I agree that the word “depression” is often thrown around like nothing. Thank you for the great ideas. I will be sure to keep you updated!

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