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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 29 2011: Thank you Chris for initiating this.
    Today I learned that those experiencing sea sickness often feel slightly depressed before becoming actually sick and might even feel suicidal. (I heard it on a Danish science program on Norvegian television.) Sea sickness is the result of conflicting sensory information (from balance organs opposed to eyes) that creates a chaos. This internal chaos is speculated to be interpreted by our bodies as having been poisoned and results in vomiting.
    I immediately thought of land based depressive and suicidal states. I think that the internal conflict due to unusual awareness of the discrepancies between our heart and our world results in a similar chaos. Our bodies rightfully think that secluded rest is needed for the brain to resolve matters. Often this works sufficiently to go on living, but sometimes the ability to understand extreme contradictions of viewpoints leaves no point of reference.
    The sea sick feels better when steering the ship. How do we accomplish the feeling of steering our own ships in sometimes dangerous waters? I believe our heart is our compass.
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        Oct 30 2011: Well said Mark,
        I agree that our interpretations, expectations, reaching for a fixed point of reference, and investment in a certain outcome often color our experiences. Observing the thoughts come and go, and experiencing the "flow" of thoughts, rather than focusing on a certain thought, can sometimes allow us to move through thoughts and feelings that we prefer not to have. This practice works well for many people to interupt the depression "spiral".

        With that said, we also need to be aware of clinical depression, which may be more difficult to deal with, and may need professional intervention.
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        Oct 30 2011: To search for a point of reference might be the only way for people with unusually developed sense of balance. They are exceptionally well equipped to sense the imbalances in life and therefore prone to develop depressions as a means to help resolve the contradictory feelings of for example a family divorce or other devastating human discrepancies.
        Depressions are like fever is to an infection and should be left to take its course in rest and solitude with help and support from persons close. If the depression has not diminished after some weeks some expert guidance is probably needed. Guided by someone who does not see the depression itself as the original sickness but as part of the cure.
        A feeling of relative balance can be found when we calibrate our major thoughts and feelings to our heart. The heart has been shown to posess neurons like in our brain and there are two-way communications between heart and brain.
        I believe in watching out for thoughts and feelings that are extrapolations from the compass of our heart. They are our points of reference, forever changing as we go.
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        Oct 31 2011: Thank you Mark Meijer for taking notice that I was very unclear about what I meant by heart and brain interactions. Here is the research I am leaning heavily on scientifically in that aspect: http://www.heartmath.org/research/science-of-the-heart/head-heart-interactions.html.
        I am at a loss to where I found the interesting information with speculations as to why humans through evolution have been equipped with the ability for being depressed. I believe it to be very probable that depression has benign functions.
        Such as helping humans in dire emotional circumstances by inducing them to rest in solitude and for example either emptying their minds of thought and feeling or rethinking difficulties again and again. These states of mind maybe makes it easier for the unconscious to regroup and find a way to positively consolidate these new learnings into the system. If the depression can take its course you ultimately might emerge stronger.
        I agree that we need the ups and downs to evolve beautifully. Each personal setback is a sign for us to try to overcome it in a way as to learn and grow. We can beautifully never predict what comes to us. And we can never know how we will evolve. We are all children of sorts. Learning gets easier when we acknowledge that comforting fact.
        The ability to acknowledge our heart as our compass gives a point of direction that can be trusted whatever strange turns of directions life takes you in order to grow. Small obstacles might be overcome by ignoring them but some have to be mastered in order to be able to move forward.
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        Oct 31 2011: I wonder if there exists any gathered data about what formerly suicidals consider to be the most important factors that made them want to live. I have only heard one clear account. It was from a boy who unsuccessfully went through several therapies. What made the last theraphy work was that the therapist showed him genuine interest.
        Do you need to feel that at least some person genuinly cares about who you are? To feel that you are neither completely alone nor forced to comply wholly to others in order to find company. Maybe you can then find the courage to travel some distances alone. And feel confident that you will find others to accompany you on part of your ways, even if seemingly unchartered.
        We suffer when alone and we suffer when in too restraining company.
        How to navigate your own personal route while keeping in contact with those you love is often tricky.
        You can believe that storms and narrow gaps are given as opportunities to become a better navigator. Nobody knows where they are going and that is beautiful. Take the time to read the compass when you suspect that you are lost. Find your bearing. Chris, it is there to find.
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      . . 100+

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      Oct 31 2011: The heart is our compass, and the only.

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