Students use various methods to cope with mental health concerns



“I have been admitted to an inpatient hospital twice, and I’ve done therapy for five years,” one Carmel High School girl says regarding her experience with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts. “I have friends I can talk to, but I’m pretty reserved when it comes to talking about it.”

Over 30 percent of people who commit suicide confided in someone in as much as a week prior to the event, according to a study by social worker Dr. Brian Ahmedani.

CHS support counselor Lauren Capano explains how heavily depression and anxiety can weigh on a student and strongly suggests that those who are confided in should be quick to speak with an adult if they think someone is in danger.

“I think all comments should be taken seriously even if the individual making the comment does not initially bring it up that way,” Capano says. “Talk with the individual, listen empathetically and tell an adult.”

Counselors, teachers and peers can be helpful resources for subjects that a student might not feel comfortable speaking about with their family, Capano explains. If the resources on campus, however, do not support someone enough, there are multiple text and call hotlines that are available for anyone to use at all hours.

Teen Line offers a different approach than most other lifelines, however. This hotline is made solely for teens and offers the opportunity to confide in those their own age. Callers are put on the line with other teens trained for specific and specialized advice that remains completely confidential.

Along with resources on campus and various hotlines, there are other individual methods that students may pair with professional help. While, perhaps, not directly solving the issue, students have found strategies that work to calm themselves down during a time of urgency.

One CHS junior boy has learned mental techniques from his family and friends to help him calm down when he becomes uneasy with his disorders.

“I like to look to the future,” he says. “By looking around at my life, I’m able to broaden my perspectives. That helps me focus on other things.” The junior explains he relieves his pain through distracting himself when needed.

Another CHS sophomore girl struggling with depression and social anxiety does not see medication as an answer and looks to other resources and approaches for support.

“I don’t take any medication because my family doesn’t do that,” the sophomore says. “I try not to think about what’s causing the problem. I stay away from huge social interactions. I try to be happy on days when it feels impossible.”

Many experts, on the other hand, have found medication to be successful in many cases. Most of those who take antidepressants are found to have better long-term results with their disorder than those who don’t, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

For those still unwilling to take medication, another coping method that is common around teens is humor. While controversial, many that struggle with these issues find that using dark jokes is a way to release tension around the subject.

“A lot of people use it to cope just like any issue,” the same sophomore girl says. “It’s acceptable as long as the comment isn’t coming from a place of ignorance.”

Junior Nelly Kohlgruber explains how laughter can brighten dark situations, as she has seen through supporting her friends that suffer from depression,

“Joking about it is a way to cope, to make things funny,” Kohlgruber says. “It’s the nature of the joke.”

Kohlgruber also makes it clear that those who are dealing with these disorders daily should attempt to handle it more cautiously and tell a trusted adult, however.

Joking about disorders can help relieve the intensity of them and can bring people together in support, according to a Huffington Post article by Megan Ward, a woman suffering from depression.

Although some advocate that the use of humor can help in these situations, Capano does not recommend doing so. She adds that comments regarding these personal issues should not be made lightly to avoid being misinterpreted. In regards to Capano’s guidance, approximately 80 percent of people who struggle with depression or anxiety express that to others through jokes or other casual references, making it unclear if the severity of the situation is understood, according to the official Crisis Center website.

The Mighty, an organization dedicated to enlighten people with mental illness and disability accounts, notes that missed signs, symptoms or comments about these disorders could put lives at risk.

In the midst of therapy, antidepressants, humor and hotlines, there are multiple methods to cope with depression, despite the lack of one soluble cure.