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The importance of mental health awareness


Last updated 11/25/2021 at 7:26pm

To the community of Fallbrook and the adults to whom it concerns; my name is Gabriella Pedo and I am an 16 year old advocate of spreading awareness for the children and adolescents who deal with misunderstood mental illnesses.

Specifically, depression and bipolar disorder which tend to fall into the early ages of teenagers my age and older.

It's proven that 1.8 million teens and young adults experience severe depression, and up to 3.4 million of these individuals are expected to already be experiencing bipolar disorder. These specific illnesses include very sensitive topics like suicide, drug, domestic and sexual abuse.

The “easy way out” of depression and bipolar disorder is to numb the body with substances. These include marijuana, alcohol, and nicotine. I am a valid source on this topic only because I have experienced both depression and bipolar disorder in my household. I have watched a series of events as a little girl from going to hospitals after school, listening and watching the traumatic screaming, to wondering what was going to happen next. The sadness, anger, hurt, tragedy and despair is very visible and it is absolutely demolishing to watch.

The best way to help these individuals get help is to, first, listen. It can be challenging and frustrating to help someone who deals with these illnesses but it's better to help them than have them deal with other consequences. You can never automatically assume the hurt that someone else has. It makes the person feel useless and as if you are belittling them.

Not many people are completely aware of what teens my age are suffering from and parents/adults seem to misinterpret it all the time. These specific age groups feel as if their parents do not care about their well being nor mental health because of the miscare or neglect in treatment. Approximately 12-26% of parents have reported not wanting to help their child get treatment for bipolar disorder and depression.

Youth groups who deal with these illnesses feel trapped in their own home, constantly wanting to leave to get away from their own hurt. As a 16 year old girl who doesn’t suffer from these illnesses, I find it sometimes difficult to reach out. I could never imagine what they feel, and as someone who has close friends and loved ones who suffer from these illnesses, do your child a favor and make sure they’re okay.

However, the adults that deal with adolescents with these mental illnesses tend to overlook what's going on. Issues start to arise like mood swings, bad behavior, and phases that all young adults and teenagers go through when growing up. When these problems start to grow, a parent can feel guilty and overwhelmed. This guilt can be extremely hard on parents, especially when it creates a questionable relationship with the child. The income, insurance, and stability in a household all affect the way the child gets help. Depending on whether the family is wealthy or poor, therapy for someone can cost up to $60 to $120 a session.

The denial that a parent goes through also has a huge impact on the situation. It’s difficult for a parent to wrap their head around the fact that these children might be on the verge of suicide due to their illness and therefore don’t know how to accept, or help them. From my point of view growing up, I have witnessed my mom and her hurting, worrying, and the disappointing emotions that all follow with these series of events. I can also say that my family itself had to deal with limited income which made it hard to provide for my loved one.

As I understand your point of view, rejecting help for your child is unacceptable. Once these children are diagnosed, parents go into immediate denial but will that ever justify the fact that your child is suffering and you won't get them help? Real help by a trained professional is the only way your child will get any better. School counselors and wellness centers are both available at school to help.

Being in and out of hospitals and even seeing the police once a week is something that could happen if you don’t reach out for your child's health. If you aren’t financially stable enough to get your child proper care, talk to your insurance. I am positive that a representative will be able to get your child help. If that's not enough, the easiest solution would be to be there for your child. You listening and respecting their point of view and struggles will help the child more than you think.

If you neglect this type of care as a parent, the child will proceed to feel worthless themselves knowing their parent/s do not care about their well-being. As a guardian, your child also pays attention and looks up to you as role models. As the child gets older, they start to believe their behaviors are normal and acceptable for them to replicate. An adult is old enough to get themselves help and should communicate with their kids about what they’re dealing with, so it doesn’t affect the child’s future and health.

The overall purpose of raising awareness for mental illness is that adults and parents misunderstand youth groups who suffer from depression and bipolar disorder. You can simply act on this by reassuring your child is okay, and asking if they need to seek out additional help. The individuals who get help with their disorder and get treatment for it have a much more positive and better way of accepting their illness rather than avoiding it and not knowing how to cope with it. If the child refuses to get help, just make sure that they know that you’re there for them. A simple hug, smile, or “I'm here for you,” might save your child's life. It's hard to understand their point of view, but it's harder dealing with a loss.

Gabriella Pedo


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