What is your country's belief on teenage depression? Is depression taken seriously as an actual mental disorder, or is it thought to be a sign of weakness?
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I spent most of my life living and studying in China. I also know a lot of people who are under the Chinese public education system, and they have to take one standardized test called "Gaokao" that determines where they go to college. I think a lot of stress comes from those exams and high academic expectation from school and the parent. They contribute most to teenage depression. Unfortunately, adolescent depression isn't recognized publicly or even appropriately taught in most of the institutions. Parents view this illness as a character flaw or an excuse to escape from schoolwork. Most of the teenagers also don't talk to their parents about it because parents don't take this problem seriously. Therefore, a lot of the teenagers are left to face this problem alone. The situation in China is very similar to the situation in Korea and I strongly agree with Joon Young's point about the impact of Confucianism. People think overworking is a virtue and mental health issues are seen as weakness.
Though I lived in Canada for most of my life, the past 5 years in South Korea has taught me that this country sees depression, and really any other mental health illness, as a sign of weakness. That is to say, I agree with Joshua's perspective and post, and don't think it's biased at all.
South Korea at its core is a conservative culture built on Confucianism...so there is an elderly respect system, an eternal work-until-you-die system, and the like. And when you consider its entire history, you begin to see that its identity is entirely built on hard work and nationalism. That is, there is no real room for weakness. While the advent of globalization has helped in such respects, bringing an increasingly critical eye on South Korea and forcing it to liberalize its society, there really isn't that drastic of a change in society. So with respect to mental health issues, yes, they are seen as mere points of weakness, and it is not uncommon to find cases where those who admit to or are found to have any mental health issues are denied or fired from working positions.
America is a very diverse country that gathers people from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds, so it is hard to create a generalized point of view. Perhaps not necessarily on an individual basis, but the public seems to be somewhat aware of the impact of mental illness. Compared to many other places, I think that America as a whole is much more open to conversation about mental health, but many problems remain.
Among adolescents, according to the CDC, around one in five experience mental illness. Very few receive treatment. Unfortunately, a stigma still does exist around mental illness, and negative biases against those who do have mental illness pervade society. Problematic stereotypes are associated with every disorder.
On a more case-by-case basis, the experience of living with a mental illness will ultimately depend on the background of the person in question. For example, for immigrants, the culture of their native country will impact their views of mental health issues. Among some communities, such as Asian-Americans, many issues will go unaddressed due to Asian views on mental health that may either trivialize or stigmatize it.
In my experience, at least there is awareness and support to some extent in this country. I hope that the public becomes more knowing of the struggles and really allow people to get the treatment they need without discrimination of the mentally ill.
My country, Kenya, is rather conservative. Depression, or any type of mental illness, is considered a sign of "madness" and those diagnosed are often considered "abnormal" or "outcasts". There is also a general lack of information, because for many people, mental health is more of schizophrenia or dementia, and less of anxiety and depression. Depression and anxiety are just a non-issue to the government and many. Depression is more like temporary sadness, not an issue that needs to be depressed. Moreover, neither parents nor teachers are addressing this issue and many teenagers are left wondering in the dark with no one to turn to or even speak to, because all their life, depression has been stigmatized as a non-issue. Leave alone the lack of education, there are barely any support systems in place such as counselors or suicide hotlines - the country has "more serious" problems to deal with.
Despite South Korea being a country with one of the highest (if not the highest) teenage suicide rate in the world, there is still a lot of stigma regarding its leading cause, which is depression. I think that because a lot of depression stems from academics, which is set in high regard by a lot of Asian parents, parents take depression as a sign of weakness and therefore a sign of low academic performance. Thus, many parents not only stress against depression but actively discourage their children from being depressed–which is a counterintuitive approach that actually exacerbates the problem by pressuring the child to try to forcibly "cure" their depression. Compounded with the tension heightened by an expectation of high grades, teenagers in Korea are put into a cycle in which the very fuel that propels their depression also happens to be the figures they are supposed to look up to and derive support from–their parents. As such, many students are cornered into depression without a tangible escape. Of course, this is an extremely biased post and is only a generalization of the side of Korea that I have been exposed to. Moreover, there are great parents out there that are very supportive. But as a whole, both statistic and anecdotal evidence point to the conclusion that as a nation, we are failing in protecting our teenagers from depression.