Article on Teen Depression
In the article, “Palo Alto, school officials talk about teen depression in response to recent deaths,” which was written by Diana Samuels and published in MercuryNews.com, last June 25, 2009, it is explained how police and city officials are planning their move in response to the recent suicides and attempted suicides by local high school students in the city of Palo Alto, California. The plan is to reportedly a collaboration between the government, police officials, and local school administrators to launch a community-wide program that would address the mental health problems and needs of young people in the city. Although no concrete plan or specific course of action has been formed yet, the district’s school officials, police officers, and City Council members met for a School City Liaison committee meeting at the district office recently. The three agencies intend to create a coordinating committee, which is composed of representatives from local schools, the medical community, the city, and other concerned groups that would plan to address recent teen suicides that were reportedly caused by teen depression. The article pointed out that the recent deaths of two students from Gunn High School, who committed suicide by running on the Caltrain railroad tracks and another who attempted suicide but was subsequently stopped from doing so on the same tracks last May was been a growing cause of concern for the police and school officials.
Moreover, according to the article, one proposed plan to address this concern regarding teen suicide caused by depression is to implement crisis and suicide intervention plans and add “emotional quotient” (Samuels, 2009) school work in school curriculum. One cause of teen depression in the area according to school board member Baten Casweell is the fact that high school students usually complain that there’s nothing to do in Palo Alto during weekends. In addition, Student Services Director Carol Zepecki claimed that the current economic crisis has been devastating for families and that young people often experience difficulty in the transition period between high school and college. She also noted that the youth today are more complex. City officials also lamented the fact that some teenagers feel that they do not have time for community activities which could probably lead to depression.
Personally, I think the incident in Palo Alto, California can serve as an eye-opener to all cities and communities across the world. As shown in the article, the suicides of two high school students and the attempted suicide of another were reportedly caused by teen depression. It was also reported in the article that a possible reason behind teen depression in the city is that teenagers find nothing to do during weekends, which have adverse emotional effects on them. Therefore, I believe that it is important for the school officials in the community not to simply meet and discuss the problem of teen depression but to immediately address it with swift action.
I believe that if the students are seemingly being depressed due to boredom and pressure from school work, then the city government should take the necessary steps in implementing programs and holding activities that would foster social growth and development. This can range from holding sports competitions to community outreach programs to simple field trips. In general, I believe that what teenagers need to avoid being depressed is a temporary break from the monotonous life of school where, no doubt, they are more or less pressured to achieve good grades. I think that this should be the case in all communities because young minds, such as the students who committed or attempted suicide in Palo Alto, need to rest their minds even for just a short period of time and momentarily remove the pressure from themselves as it can lead to emotional breakdowns and, subsequently, teen depression and suicide.
Samuels, D. (2009). Palo Alto, school officials talk about teen depression in response to recent deaths. MercuryNews.com. Retrieved July 10, 2009 from http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_12690714?source=rss.