Our high school years can be some of the toughest in our lives. As teenagers, our bodies and minds are changing drastically in such a short amount of time. How you cope with your changes, determines the kind of person you grow up to be. The youth of New Zealand is growing and with the world that we live in now, needs to be getting as much support as we can. With New Zealand having the highest suicide rate in the world, why are we not trying harder to do something about it.
In October this year I went to an community event called Political Punch. It was a Q&A evening, where you could ask the selected NZ politicians, anything you were curious about. I was lucky enough to stand up and say what was on my mind. I asked them what they were going to do to help the youth of this country. The most common response was that a root of the mental health problem is poverty and housing. This isn’t false but I don’t think it’s completely true either.
It is not about having a good house or not that causes people to turn to drugs and alcohol. Teens use drugs despite living in a nice house.
A boy in my neighborhood who I’ve known for my whole schooling career, has just started smoking. He lives in a nice house with a lovely family. They’re not poor and he does well academically. The problem is not his house or financial state, but the teenage environment in general. Being put in the state of mind, thinking that because his peers smoke, means that he has to too fit in.
So, what is the root? In my opinion we are the cause. As a society. Everything a person does to someone else, changes the way they think about themselves, and it's not always good things. You can tees someone because of their appearance, then have a good laugh about it, while they go home and take their own life. You might not see it at the time and it may not happen straight away, but be more conscious before you do or say anything, because you do not go unnoticed.
There are so many things we need to fix in this world, that are not humanly possible to change, but why can’t we do something more to help something that surrounds us everyday.
The politicians also said they’re are planning to put nurses and counselors in every high school. Luckily my school already has them, and seeing counselors can be great to identity problems that you may be going through. But when being in the school environment, there is still so many students who haven’t seeked help. Maybe they are not brave enough to stand up and ask for it, or don’t know that they actually need it. Counselors can very beneficial for those who go and see them, but can’t exactly help those who don’t.
It’s up to us, the community. To support and be there for each other, and to have a think about our mental health. To be more observant of our surroundings and notice when something is off. Listening to each other, not taking over and doing what you want to do as a team, because you don’t have to handle it alone.
After going home and thinking about the politicians responses to my question, I then realised we shouldn’t be waiting for others to make a move before we decide to step up and do something. Listen to our guts and do whatever we can as soon as possible. The little things can change a generation.
If community knows best, what are we going to do about it?