Adolescence or better known as the teenage years are considered as one of the hardest and toughest periods of the human life. This is the time when the human body is going through a lot of changes biologically, the hormone level is disrupt and the individual itself is coming out of childhood and entering into the parallel adult universe. This is the period of emotional, Physical and cognitive development of the person in question.
According to western research about 18 percent of teenagers are victims of depressions and the ratio of girls that suffer from depression is double to that of the boys. In Pakistan it is difficult to calculate a definite number of teenagers suffering from depression due to inadequate information regarding this context. Though a report suggests that 34 percent of the population currently is enveloped by the shadows of depression.
Firstly the question arises what is depression in the first place?. It is a common serious and common mood disorder that results in severe symptoms that have an effect on how the individual thinks, feels and gets on with his or her daily activities. In accordance with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental disorders (document that sets the criteria for the classification of mental disorders), depression is considered a persistent depressive disorder, major depressive disorder and premenstrual dysphonic disorder.
The mental state of teenagers today is the same as the mental state of mental patients in the 1950s. A disturbance is created in the lives of teenagers due to physiological changes. Growth of gonads and genitals and the emergent of secondary sexual characteristics which are a result of hormonal changes. Social factors also influence of the presence of depression among teenagers. It is considered a taboo to discuss sexual development and anything regarding sex among our society. A Karachi based study reported that the first menstruation experience by many girls was fearful (30 percent), stressful (18 percent) and shocking ( 44 percent).
The major problem in our society is that depression is not paid attention to. Many people are ignorant towards it. They sweep it under the rug and act like it does not exist. It’s an embarrassment for them to talk about their sad mental state. In a society that is hardcore and discourages its children to show weakness of any kind is unable to deal with depression among their children.
Parents should face the situation and except that their child is in pain. They should provide continuous care, warmth and support. It has been reported that teens with high levels of parental support showcased little or no signs of depression.
Parents should also teach their teens strong emotional and social skills. Teenagers also face academic failure; failure in relationships and friendships just like adults and it is the responsibility of the caretakers to provide enough emotional training to their children so that they can easily cope with such situations.
The teenagers should be encouraged to seek some purpose in life. Most teens go into depression because they think that their life is meaningless and are not satisfied by their lifestyle. Parents need to engage their children by asking them open ended questions which have no wrong answer.
There is still a lot of work that needs to be carried out in Pakistan regarding depression.