Updated: Aug 31, 2022
By Haya Ansari and Chloe Gordon
Suicide rates have been rising more recently than before. To oppose this, National Suicide Prevention takes place between September 8 to 11 this 2019. Some SOAR students today are affected by these types of thoughts at some point. Rika Moya was able to give more information on what mental illness is really like. We also received a decent amount of information from a survey we asked SOAR students to take. By gathering a lot of information, we are hoping to help students in need.
The causes of suicidal thoughts is a question many are unable to answer. Rika Moya, the head counselor for SOAR Highschool, explains someone does not have to be diagnosed with a clinical mental health illness to experience these thoughts. A long-term or a short-term situation someone is stuck in can be one of the causes. Mental illnesses and suicidal thoughts can also affect a variety of different types of people due to incorrect brain functions. Others may assume someone is perfect because of the amount of friends they have, their supportive families, or they seem to have their lives figured out already. However, even those "perfect" people are struggling with multiple mental battles too, you just do not notice.
Suicide Awareness is important because there are people who are silencing themselves since there has been a long period of time where mental health was not discussed. Moya explained the suicides have increased with all age groups, not just teenagers, and with different types of people, like veterans or law enforcement. Because of today's modern technology, teenagers are able to come in contact with different people across the world. Moya theories despite this, teenagers still feel a strong feeling of isolation. She adds it also be the fact that children are being exposed to more adult subjects at a younger age than before. She agrees it would help if more people conversed in real life more often since it easier to bully random people behind a phone screen and not realize how their words affect them. Kids are also being exposed to violence than they used to, which can have an affect on their very undeveloped brains.
There are many resources available to help students going through tough times. Moya explained some stereotypes about counselors are not completely true is that they do not care about their student’s well being or discourage them to follow their passions. Anyone is able to receive help, even if you come from a family who believes it is not necessary. Since it is considered child abuse if parental guardians refuse to get their children any help that is necessary. Students are able to talk to counselors, scheduled appointment with AVC counselors, or talk to any of their teachers She also believes if more people talk about the issue of rising suicides, it would lessen the stigma around mental health (which she adds it should just be called health since it is just as important as any other medical issue.), and build a community where students are able the signs right away that a student is planning on committing suicide.
Here to Help, a community dedicated to providing the public with “mental health and substance use information,” states that the way people think, feel, behave, or interact can be affected by mental illness. People are affected in different ways because there are a variety of mental illnesses with established symptoms and anyone has a chance for attaining depression, mental illnesses, or suicidal thoughts.
Based off of a recent study of SOAR Students, 60.3% of students that took the survey either face mental or health illnesses or know of a loved one that experiences it. Unfortunately, half of the people that took the survey are unaware of the symptoms of depression which makes it clear that if they were to experience certain mental health illnesses during the duration of their life, it will be left untreated.
The Mental Health Awareness survey also proved that the majority of teenagers talk to their friends about possible health issues or signs of depression. It is understandable since friendship is a relation and decision made by the individual and is established based off of trust. Though it is comforting to talk to friends about this situation, it won’t always result in a solution. It is best to talk to a certified adult or someone who is wise enough to understand what you are going through, help you through it, and knows a guaranteed way for your mental illness or depression to disappear.
Depression is very closely related to anxiety since you are able to get depression from anxiety and vice versa. If left untreated, it can lead to an increase in drugs and alcohol intake and addiction as well as a plummet in health and many other important factors of life. According to Psychology Today,” Clinical depression and anxiety disorders-not to mention severe conditions like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder and drug abuse- cause measurable changes in key areas of the brain.” This website specifies how untreated mental disorders cause a possibility in shrinkage of “key brain areas.”
We strongly encourage that students get help if they notice signs of mental health illnesses, suicidal thoughts, or depression. Based off of a TADS study, “the U.S. general statistics state that 80%-90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication.”
"Your story is unfinished. This moment is just a phase, a set back before you meet contentment and self-love, but you have to strive for it and believe that you’ll get there. Everything in the world will begin to seem more livelier, and suddenly, you will become grateful for everything. This small chapter in your “Book of Life” will shape your perspective and personality, and allow you to bloom into a beautiful flower. You are accepted and you will learn to accept yourself. Enjoy this state of bliss."
Reference: Rika Moya
Counselor since 2006:
Eight years at Antelope Valley Highschool
Four years at Highland Highschool (head counselor)
Two years at SOAR Highschool (as head counselor)
Job consists of monitoring the amount of suicides with students (due to the dramatic increase over the past few years), preparing students for academic success, college readiness, be there in a time of crisis and form relationships to earn their trust.
If you yourself are experiencing symptoms of depression or symptoms of the like and believe you want or might want to hurt yourself in the future, please call 1-800-273-8255.