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What can we do about the constant rise of depression and suicide in young adults?

I am seventeen years of age and have recently come out of a large stage of my life where I dealt with a lot of depression. I have dealt with and still deal with people in high school (and even middle school in some cases) that deal with depression every single day and never have anyone that they talk to about their problems.

I have known people that have committed suicide from the weight of depression upon their shoulders throughout their lives, and have heard about these cases all over the world. I, myself, have been driven to the point where I thought that the only way out of my depression was by suicide because there was nothing to help me.

I want to know your opinions and ideas on the subject of depression and suicide in young adults today and what we can do to prevent these problems in the future. Thanks for listening!

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  • Oct 15 2011: Hey Chris, this is amazing that you have all these people coming up with good ideas and different insights to help you and others that are dealing with this condition. That, in its self should give you more hope that there is a "smoking gun" solution to the problem, somewhere out there. I've read all these post, and have heard a lot of good advice coming from people all over the place. But the one thing that is missing in almost all of them, is, "sexuality." When you hear of teenagers being depressed, it isn't until after puberty that you see these symptoms take place. Do you ever hear of 10 and 11 year old kids getting depressed, no, not so much. It isn't until after puberty that you hear of theses things. The pressure of being a "virgin" can be overwhelming to a lot of young people, I know this from experience. And all men who remember this feeling can say the same.
    In life, we expect certain things to happen in a common way, as all others have experienced. When you are at that point, your inner-self says you have to meet a girl and have the sex like everyone else is having. And you feel like you are an outsider if you don't. Most young people have sex just to "conform" with the rest of their friends. (Joe had sex so I think that I should do the same, I don't want to be the only one who isn't.) This is a great deal of pressure that is put on top of all the other pressures, its overwhelming. So if it is about sex, just give it more time.
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      Oct 19 2011: I think you've got a very good point there, (though I don't know if sexuality is a major point for many people). I would like to point out though that the pressure to have sex and fall in love does not come only from your peers, but from society itself.
      I am asexual, meaning I have no interest in sex or sexual relationships, and so have felt this pressure very clearly. You can hardly find one movie that has no romance. The characters portrayed rarely find happiness unless they have fallen in love also, and shared a big, romantic kiss. Sex scenes are even appearing in family films nowadays, everywhere around you everybody is constantly obsessing about it, the government supports it, and the public generally expects everyone to get married, and perhaps have some kids. There is a strong stigma on being single. I didn't even know what asexual people were until about a year ago and didn't know what was "wrong" with me. I thought I was abnormal in some way, since simply, the idea of being happy without a romantic relationship is never put forward.
      People that live without love are labeled as lonely and sad. Described as not being "whole", not having found their other part, or "missing out on the greatest pleasure of life". One is bombarded with sentences like: "The reason for life is to fall in love." etc. I don't think people with normal sex drive realize what an enormous pressure is being put on everybody, and that also includes children and teenagers. This weighed heavily on me and still does, for now I worry if I can ever find a husband/wife that can love me platonically as I will him/her.

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