Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. It causes severe symptoms that affect how you feel, think and handle daily activities. This illness has the potential to consume someone to the point of no return. This happened to my friend Breanna White, who committed suicide this summer when she could no longer bear to live with her illness.
Bre was a freshman film production major at Chapman last year and was overwhelmed by this illness. I have also struggled with depression for as long as I can remember. It is worrisome at times how someone who is struggling with depression can seemingly be fine, myself included.
Many people see me as an outgoing and upbeat person, but what they don’t see are my demons lurking in the shadows that linger around me.
And that’s the problem with depression. It’s such a hidden illness. Many of us live our day-to-day life with a facade that fools even our brightest peers.
Suicide and self-harm remain taboo topics in schools, despite the fact that youth suicide has reached a 10-year high. There’s a common notion that if you talk about these topics, you can be putting ideas in students’ heads, especially following Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” There were so many debates on whether or not it glorified suicide.
The World Suicide Prevention Day (Sept. 10) and R U OK? Day (Sept. 13) campaigns encourage people to have honest conversations about suicide and mental health. To make this happen, we have to fight against the stigma that silences these topics.
There has to be a way to talk about suicide, depression and other mental health topics in a safe environment. In high school, I was part of a group therapy psychological service provided by my school. The psychological services at my high school grouped female students based on our interests and common problems, so we had a safe environment to talk about our personal battles, no matter how big or small. We became a support system.
During my time in group therapy, I was at my emotional and mental best. It helped talk me off the ledge and also helped me feel like I wasn’t alone. Loneliness can plague people who struggle with depression. Those demons around me are louder when I feel lonely.
Whether Bre could’ve been saved, we will never know. But there has to be a way for our community to actively work on preventative measures, rather than dealing with those affected who were left behind after the fact.