Two Brave Teens Taking the Sting Out of Mental Illness


Okay. A mother can brag, right? When my 16-year-old daughter and her co-editor approached me about the possibility of writing an editorial for a mainstream newspaper after the Dean of her school would not allow the school newspaper to publish stories where students revealed their struggles with depression, I thought it was a great idea. But I never envisioned that what transpired would have such a significant impact. The result of their efforts was this editorial that ran in The New York Times. The piece was the top third emailed article on The New York Timeswebsite of the day. It generated over 200 heart-wrenching, thought-provoking comments on all sides of the issue. The girls received numerous messages, as did I, from those who have struggled with depression all of their lives, thanking them for bringing this issue out of the closet. I’m of course proud of my daughter for having the courage to take on her school administration and speak out about an issue that she feels is so important. But I’m just as gratified that this has sparked such a significant discussion about how to address mental health. The girls articulated their reasons for writing the article in an interview that ran on National Public Radio Schools seem to be struggling on how to handle this situation. But one thing is clear: the answer is not to sweep depression under the rug and make people feel ashamed for their suffering. Let’s hope this article, which has inspired so many to speak up about depression, begins a crucial dialogue about how to help the many struggling teens, and to prevent the rash of suicides we’re seeing in young people.


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