“You don’t look like you have mental issues.” Jeremy didn’t know how to respond. His friend was right. Jeremy looked like a typical, happy adolescent. He earned good grades, played sports and followed the rules. No one ever thought anything was wrong. That is until Jeremy made a serious suicide attempt. He just wanted to die but didn’t know why. Life had become too painful. But nothing bad had ever happened to Jeremy, so why was he so unhappy?
After getting out of the hospital, Jeremy felt lost. He was referred to and began receiving therapy at Western Youth Services. He didn’t know what to talk about. He said he had good parents, a nice home and lots of friends. But Jeremy slowly began talking to his therapist about his feelings of worthlessness and how he had always felt anxious and worried. Jeremy learned that these feelings contributed to depression, something he didn’t know anything about. Over time, he learned that it’s not always life circumstances that make people depressed and anxious. Sometimes, people just feel that way.
Jeremy is now able to identify his feelings. He has learned coping strategies for when he feels anxious, sad and hopeless. His family knows the warning signs. Jeremy learned that there is nothing shameful about mental illness or taking medication to help. He started volunteering for a community agency to help educate high school students about mental illness, where to go for help and what each person can do to support someone they know who is struggling with any kind of emotional difficulty.