We can’t deny that over the past 20 some odd-years society and the educational system have changed dramatically. There is so much more pressure on the students of today to do well in school and just excel at everything. This is called “overachievementism”. Students today start being pressured to be perfect at an extremely young age to be perfect. As they grow up the pressure only continues to build and make a heavier burden on their lives. As a result, more and more students are developing psychological disorders.
The main problem has become depression. Depression has become a growing problem in today’s society. Depression is defined as a psychoneurotic disorder characterized by lingering sadness, inactivity, and difficulty in thinking and concentration (Depression 1). Depression is caused by reduced quantities or activity of the monoamine neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain (Depression 1). Alexandra Robbins writes about depression in today’s overachiever society in her book, The Overachievers; The Secret Lives of Driven Kids.
Robbins writes how depression has become a growing epidemic as a result of the overachiever culture today. “Although it is estimated that every hundred minutes a teenager in the United States commits suicide, The American Psychiatric Association places the true number at two to three times higher” (Robbins 357). Robbins writes “… there is no doubt that overachiever culture plays a significant role (357). Students are put under so much pressure to get good grades, be the best at sports, and have a social life that it’s no wonder depression is growing among teenagers. A 2005 article in the journal Adolescence cited several studies linking overachiever-type school pressures to suicide attempts” (Robbins 358). Depression can be a result of students thinking they’ll never be perfect or reach the expectations set by their parents. Robbins says, “A 2004 survey of almost 50,000 college students found that 45% of students had felt so depressed it was difficult to function and 63% had felt hopeless at times” (358). More than half of those students surveyed felt hopeless, which can be a main cause for depression.
Depression isn’t just a growing problem in America, it’s a global epidemic. “In 2001 in Hong Kong, where one in three teenagers have suicidal thoughts, a student who failed a Chinese dictation exam leaped to his death from his high-rise apartment” (Robbins 35). If something isn’t done soon we could lose many teenagers that could have been saved. There are things we can do to help slow and hopefully eventually cease this epidemic. We need to educate ourselves on the signs of depression, so if a friend shows these signs u can help them get the help they need and be a source of support.
Signs of depression include persistent sad or anxious feelings, irritability, loss of interest in activities and thoughts of suicide (Mental Health and Illness 11). Depression can be treated through therapy or anti-depressants. While scientists agree anti-depressants work, an individual will still need to counseling to sort through their emotional state (Depression 1). Schools as well as parents also need to lighten the pressure put on students.
While grades are still important, schools and parents need to understand students need to be able to take time to relax and enjoy their teen years. The heavy reliance on grades to measure a student’s worth during school years and when applying to colleges needs to lighten. The student should be looked at as a person not a number. The pressure to be perfect needs to cease as well. After all Simple Plan said it best in their 2002 hit “Perfect”, “I’m sorry, I can’t be perfect”. More people need to realize that perfection cannot be achieved.