graphic by Hannah Mathes

Face Value

Statistics show one in five students lives with Mental Illness. Two Seniors share their real journeys toward help and healing.

May 19, 2017

Look around you. According to statistics from the National Alliance on Mental Illness, in each normal sized high school class of 20, four students are likely struggling with a diagnosable mental illness such as anxiety, social anxiety, depression, eating disorders or bipolar disorder.

According to youth.gov, mental health disorders involve the absence of the ability to:

  • Navigate successfully the complexities of life
  • Develop fulfilling relationships
  • Adapt to change
  • Utilize appropriate coping mechanisms to achieve well-being
  • Realize their potential
  • Have their needs met
  • Develop skills that help them navigate the different environments they inhabit

Two students, Seniors Caroline Ford and Josh Greene, know first-hand the struggles of mental illness. Their stories put a face to the statistics, statistics that are often shocking and news to many.

The most common mental health problems found in teenagers are depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, but there are numerous other diseases that plague teens frequently. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that 20 percent of teens live with a mental health condition. Between 10 to 15 percent of teenagers have some symptoms of depression, and depression increases a teen’s risk for attempting suicide by 12 times.

According to 2014 data from the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the second most common cause of death for teens behind only accidental injury. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, from 2009-2013, the Collin and Denton County area reported 10 suicide deaths per 100,000 people. However, though North Texas counties claim better statistics than the rest of the country, they consistently reflect a trend of significant increase over time.

Eating disorders are also associated with underlying mental health conditions. The National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders states that at least 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from an eating disorder in the U.S., and it carries the highest mortality rate of any other mental illness.

Caroline and Josh’s stories begin very differently, reach low points but thankfully both found help, unlike many other adolescents. They open up for LionNationOnline about the narratives leading up to their mental illnesses, seeking treatment and what they have learned.

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