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dec 2019

depression


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the mission

Welcome to the first issue of Emote Magazine! Emote’s goal is to educate and inform young people about the dangers of ignorance in regards to mental health. We also strive to normalize the conversation about mental health topics and to let young people who are suffering know that it’s OK to seek help, and that they are not alone. The topic of discussion in this issue is depression. What follows is a collection of informational articles, interviews, and personal pieces contributed by young people with experience in dealing with mental illness. We hope you enjoy!

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5-8

a r o i l e ad m 0 1 9

11-14 3


fostering feelings 17-20

loving plants s m r o f r e h t o d n a of self-care

21-22

e n i m a p o d l a t i g i d 23-26 4


an invisible enemy

we spoke with speech pathologist Maria Vasquez about the high risk of depression in students with learning disabilities at all education levels and how to combat the stigma. As though early education (elementary-highschool) wasn't already hard enough or arguably the most stressful periods of most people’s lives, there are many young people who struggle with an invisible enemy. Learning disabilities have been proven to correlate with the presence of depression and anxiety in students at all levels of education. Students with these issues tend to be a greater risk due to the fact that they have much lower self confidence in their work than their peers and they are often also less socially accepted and therefore more anxious when it comes to interaction in educational settings. Students with learning disabilities are at a major disadvantage. Maria Vasquez is a speech pathologist who works with children with speech impediments. We spoke with her regarding the struggles that young people go through who don’t learn at the same pace as others or struggle to succeed with the same methods of study. We also discuss the higher presence of depression and other mental illnesses in these students due to their differences.

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What advice would you give to anyone struggling with balancing learning issues and their mental health or the parents/supporters of those individuals? Following a diagnosis or understanding of the presence of a learning disability or issue in yourself, a friend, a child, it is important to really do the research so that all the facts are present. For example, someone may say "yes, I know what dyslexia looks like" but what is that actually based off of, a movie where the disability is shown as letters floating around on a piece of paper? Understand all symptoms, that dyslexia also means sequence memory issues, pronunciation issues, processing delays, and so on. It's not just having a hard time reading, Commitment to finding out as much as you can will also help with figuring out the best means of treatment. Talk openly and honestly about learning disabilities. If you yourself have one, there's nothing wrong with being honest about how it affects your abilities. Let your classmates know you may need some help with difficult math problems. Let your teachers know that your delay in answering a question is not a reflection of your focus, but that you may need extra time to collect your thoughts. If you are a parent of a child with a learning disability make sure they understand it is not a reflection of their intelligence. Make casual conversation about their disability normal and encouraged. Children will be able to tell if their parents or important adult figures in their lives feel uncomfortable about speaking openly. This will reflect on their own perception of their issues and set them up for failure down the line.

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And most importantly, don't be afraid to ask for what you need. If you're a parent it may be asking the administration or a doctor for help meeting a child's needs, or if you're a student it may be asking for your friends' help with note taking, and so on. What would you say is the most likely contributing factor that causes or exacerbates the depressive behavior and thoughts in young people with learning disabilities? Both and professional studies and in my own personal opinion I believe the biggest challenge for young people with learning disabilities to overcome is the fact that their self-esteem tends to be much lower than those without. Several things contribute to this. But certainly the biggest one is Attacks from other students of the same age. All kids want us to fit in and when you take tests in a different classroom or take different classes than anyone else or are m What would you say is the most likely contributing factor that causes or exacerbates the depressive behavior and thoughts in young people with learning disabilities? Both and professional studies and in my own personal opinion I believe the biggest challenge for young people with learning disabilities to overcome is the fact that their self-esteem tends to be much lower than those without. Several things contribute to this. But certainly the biggest one is Attacks from other students of the same age. All kids want us to fit in and when you take tests in a different classroom or take different classes than anyone else or are more often publicly shamed for getting worse grades and everybody else it makes you at target. Bullying and hateful behavior from other students is already a danger that any normal

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young person faces so the likelihood that children with learning disabilities will deal with it is that much higher. There is also the pressure that comes from within, the pressure to succeed and to do well. Many children deal with expectations either from their parents or that they set on themselves. Children wit there is also the pressure that comes from within, the pressure to succeed and to do well. Many children deal with expectations either from their parents or that they set on themselves. Those with learning disabilities have a much harder time reaching these expectations and will often take it out on themselves and blame their uncontrollable learning disability. This experience is extremely frustrating and can certainly contribute to changes in mood and behavior. Are there any misconceptions that are common in the conversation about mental disorders in relation to learning disabilities? One misconception that is very important to talk about is the distinction between adolescents with learning disabilities in conjunction with depression and depression as a learning disability. They are two different things and have to be addressed in different ways. There are young people who have a specific learning disability and develop a depressive disorder alongside it or because of it. Then there are people who don’t have what we would commonly consider a learning disability but are diagnosed with a depressive disorder. Either way depressive disorders in and of themselves are a learning disability. They create a mental environment where students often find it very hard to focus or to retain information. They affect sleep and levels of motivation. And overall just make learning much harder in many cases. So in this sense we can accurately call depression a learning disability by itself.


Do issues like these that teens and children struggle with persist into later stages of education, like college, for adults? There is absolutely evidence to suggest that children and teens with learning disabilities experience similar issues in college to those they dealt with in early education. It is important for these individuals to develop really successful and specific methods of studying, working on assignments, and test-taking early on. If they enter higher education without these habits, they are essentially doomed and will find themselves having major issues maintaining grades. The amount of resources in higher education for those with learning disabilities vary from campus to campus and are not as easily accessed as in early learning institutions. There is also a much more aggressive stigma against adults with learning disabilities and so we end up seeing a lot of first year college students failing or dropping out because it is too difficult. In more dangerous cases, especially in those students who suffer from depression or other mental health disorders, we see higher rates of suicide. The pressure to succeed and be independent creates a perfect storm. What do you hope readers take away from this interview? More than anything else I want students without learning disabilities to understand how much harder things are day to day for students with them. The best thing to give a student with a learning disability is sympathy and understanding. This helps them feel as though they are not alone and can make a world of difference to students who are struggling. The odds are stacked against those with extra challenges and the best way to make it easier for these individuals is to offer your help.

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ad meliora

on dangerous assumptions, the importance of self-advocacy, and making it to adulthood. submitted by anonymous In popular media, depression is shown as something crippling and world-ending. It keeps people in bed for days at a time and they lose 40 pounds and their family have to come banging down their door to save them. And for some, this is actually representative of the struggle. But for others depression can simply be struggling to feel joy when you spend time with friends, or a lack of interest in hobbies which once were so consuming, or your favorite foods losing their taste. But for some reason there is a tendency to overlook the people who struggle with the less obvious or visible disorders in their day to day lives. I have been diagnosed with something called dysthymia, which is often called chronic high-functioning or low-level depression. This affects 11% of people aged 13 to 18 and is known to persist into adulthood, occasionally increasing in intensity to a major depressive disorder. I did not know this in highschool and it led to suffering in silence for years because of the way society views invisible illnesses. From the outside, my good grades and smiling disposition would give no indication of having any kind of issue. All of my friends would see my Snapchat stories and Instagram posts and express their jealousy. They’d tell me how much they wished they had the life I did. Meanwhile, on my weekend hikes, the pictures of which amassed so many likes on social media, I would bring a bottle of pills and think about doing something to end it. The pressure

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to maintain this facade of perfection and happiness would only end up contributing to the issues I was facing. Not only was I experiencing depressive episodes but I was also dealing with the stress of maintaining appearances so as not to worry the people who were close to me with what I believed were arbitrary issues. To those with dysthymia or other high functioning mental illnesses the idea of seeking help feels almost as if it is selfindulgent or perhaps that we don’t deserve it because there are people who are clearly so much worse off than us. It feels like the only option is to push through the sadness and keep up the mask that we’ve built for ourselves until the problem solves itself. My biggest regret is not fighting harder for myself when I felt like something was wrong. I would mention some of the issues I was having to my parents or friends at school but because outwardly I seem to be doing so well they did not take me seriously and would write them off as a bad week or not getting enough exercise or stress due to an upcoming assignment. And because what I was going through didn’t look like how it did on TV or in movies I believe them. I felt like I was making everything up or over simply dramatizing it. Not all mental disorders present themselves in the same way. Looking up a symptom list on WebMD will not give you all the answers you need. If you feel like there is something wrong the best thing you can do for yourself


is to seek the help of a professional. Counselors at school, therapists, and adult mentors in your life are all sources you can go to if you don’t feel comfortable talking about it with friends and family. It is absolutely necessary to educate young people on the signs and symptoms of mental health issues. Had I known earlier that what I was going through was just as valid, I would’ve sought help sooner. It is the people who write off functioning individuals saying they are not sad enough who doom many to unfulfilled lives. And this responsibility falls on the parents and the authority figures. Anyone who interacts with young people should do so with care and understanding. The tendency to call teenagers dramatic or attention-seeking when they talk about their problems is contributing to this major issue. As a society we need to work towards eliminating the stigma surrounding mental health. We need to understand that it is not something we can control and that it looks different in every person. Adults must learn to listen to young people when they say that there’s something wrong. You are the best judge of your own emotional state and if you feel like you need help, don’t stop fighting until you get what you need. Medication is normal. Therapy is normal. Seeking help for even the seemingly small or unimportant abnormal feelings is normal. If I had been properly educated when I was a teenager I might've been able to avoid years of wondering if my problems were even worth talking about. I thought I would just how to feel how I did for the rest of my life. I told my therapist that when I was younger, I never saw myself making to my 21st birthday. I couldn't imagine a world where I made it. But, here I am. Cheers to moving towards better things.

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a brief history

a recurring column where we take a look at important and influential people in history who struggled with their mental health. Besides the artworks which would cement Vincent van Gogh as one of the most influential and groundbreaking artists of all time, he is best known for cutting his own ear off and failing to kill himself (initially). But what many don't know about him is that he suffered openly and tragically from chronic mental illness for the majority of his life which would eventually contribute to the actions which led to his self-inflicted death in 1890. There is a plethora of evidence to suggest that van Gogh suffered from a mental disorder that is often classic classified as manic depression. This is a chronic mental illness that affects many creative people throughout their lives. Symptoms include persistent sadness and anxiety, feelings of worthlessness, difficulty making decisions and concentrating, and thoughts of death or suicide. One of the more famous aspects of van Gogh's personal life are the letters that he wrote to his brother Theo throughout most of his adult years. In these letters we can see a great range of emotion and very consistent swings in mood and mindset. At times van Gogh seems relatively positive and excited about the art he is creating. At other times he is despondent and sees no reason to go on living. This kind of emotional behavior is very indicative of someone with a depressive disorder or bipolar disorder. However, at the time these terms were not widely known and those suffering were often considered insane and sent to asylums, as van Gogh was, to receive the treatments of the time period. "To many it would no doubt appear foolish and superstitious to believe in any improvement for the better. Sometimes in winter it’s so bitterly cold that one says, it’s simply too cold, what do I care whether summer comes, the bad outweighs the good. But whether we like it or not, an end finally comes to the hard frost, and one fine morning the wind has turned and we have a thaw. Comparing the natural state of the weather with our state of mind and our circumstances, subject to variables and change, I still have some hope that it can improve."

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Five years before his death, van Gogh finally started to figure himself and his art out. At the age of 32 he created the first of what would be considered his major works, and by 34 he really came into his own. In 1888 he moved to Arles and he began to experiment in bright hughes and naturalistic compositions. This period is classified by his famous use of yellow pigment, his favorite color and a staple of his most iconic masterpieces.In this same year, van Gogh began to work with artist Paul Gaugin and for 2 months they lived together and created art in conjunction. The beginning of the end came when Gaugin decided to leave and van Gogh who has been theorized to have strong attachment issues, a characteristic of some depressive disorders, had a psychotic break. Famously, van Gogh would end up cutting his ear off at this time and leaving it for a woman he was said to have fancied. Of course, he would be hospitalized following this incident and he spent a good portion of 1889 in a hospital in Arles. After a transfer to a different hospital, van Gogh spent time trying to overcome the issues which plagued him in a more aggressive state than he had experienced before in his life.

“How much sadness there is in life! Nevertheless one must not become melancholy. One must seek distraction in other things, and the right thing is to work.� — Vincent Van Gogh

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For nearly a year he was in and out of the hospital and continued making art at an insane pace. Some of his best known works come from this tumultuous period of time in van Gogh's life. While he was actively receiving care and seeking help, the comings and goings of the depressive episodes and delusions proved to much for the artist. He often talked about his struggles as "indescribable anguish". So, in July of 1890 van Gogh shot himself in the chest and the wound took his life a few days later, his brother by his side. The question that is raised in most circles when discussing van Gogh's mental state throughout his creative years is whether or not it would be beneficial to the art world if he had been able to overcome his depression. Controversy suggests that he might not have been able to output the kinds of pieces that he did had he not suffered so heavily. Many people say that artists are only able to create the magnitude of work that they do because they are so emotionally tortured. It is endlessly interesting to consider what the potential effects would have been if van Gogh was able to receive chemical


treatment rather than being sent to a psychological institution in the way he was. For example if common modern day antidepressants had been available at that time, van Gogh likely would’ve been prescribed them. But it is stated that drugs that contain the chemical lithium carbonate usually dampen creative abilities. So they may have deafened his desire to create as frequently. However this is not always the case and it’s possible that van Gogh may have been able to overcome his depression and avoid his own suicide to go on to grow and develop even further as an artist. Vincent van Gogh is arguably one of the most famous and cultural influential artists of all time and he achieved it despite his immense struggles with mental health

issues throughout his life. He sold a singular painting even though over the course of a decade he produced over 2,000 unique artworks. His worth and value as an artist cannot be overstated. And yet he never knew this or lived to see the fruits of his labor as an artist. We can learn from his life so that his fight for happiness may not be in vain. From his struggles, we learn that we do not understand the extent of our own value as human beings. We don't know our own worth. But it is there. If van Gogh had lived another 10 years, who is to say how much success he would have seen and how much his craft would have developed. He might've found the success he had been fighting to achieve for so long.

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“Sometimes, I feel like I have so many feelings in me that I have no idea what to do with them, how to express them without messing myself up a little bit. Sometimes, I feel like I have nothing, absolutely nothing in me. Like I am just another speck of dust at the corner of an abandoned home and I will do almost anything to fill myself up.� — Lukas W.

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fostering feelings

during the most important time for mental development, many young people struggle with unstable home-life situations. we talk to foster licenser Beth Jacobson about their affects. In a world where happy go-lucky nuclear families are at the center of every other television sitcom, the United States has one of the top three most astronomically high divorce rates in the world. And while we don't rank as high in terms of orphaned children, we still struggle with finding good homes for the hundreds of thousands of children in foster care as well. We spoke to Beth Jacobson, who works for Las Vegas's Family Services and teaches classes of potential foster parents as part of their licensing process, about unusual family situations and the risks they pose to children who are subjected to them. Some important statistics to keep in mind when it comes to children and teens in unusual family or living situations as we discuss more about them are: As of 2017, on an average day there are around 443,000 children under the age of 18 in the foster care system in the U.S. In 2017 approximately 50 percent of children in the U.S. will be subjected to the breaking up of a parent's marriage. In 2017 around 40 percent of children in the U.S. are raised without the presence of their biological father. In 2018 it was estimated that 114,000 same-sex couples were raising children. 68 percent of these couples were raising biological (from one partner) children.

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In your own experience essentially teaching people how to be parents to children that are not theirs biologically, what is the most surprising thing that these people don't know or understand? Certainly one of the most challenging sections of the class for people to wrap their heads around is when we talk about mental health and children. A startling percentage of foster kids struggle with mental disorders. From aggression to depression to attention disorders, it is something that usually happens as a result of the foster care system and feelings of abandonment. Many potential foster parents believe that by giving a child a place to sleep and food to eat they are solving all of their problems and essentially curing the child. Many potential fosters also believe that fostering older children means that they can be completely hands off. That the child will be 100% self-sufficient and quiet and low maintenance. This is absolutely not the case and sometimes years of rehabilitation are necessary for the foster to be able to feel at home and safe in their environment. What we attempt to do is educate our potential foster parents so that they know when they bring an orphaned child into their house they must behave in a way that is conducive to the child’s mental health. Foster care is already a very stressful experience for most kids. Being introduced to strangers and told that you must live with them for an unknown period of time can cause a major amount of anxiety in kids.


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What advice is it that you give to potential foster parents in regards to creating that conducive environment for children they bring into their home? Most foster care services offer intervention if there are major issues with foster children. The last thing we want to do it rip the child away again and create more issues and distrust so we often suggest therapy first. Family therapy can be very helpful to build a bridge between new foster parents and their placements. This helps reassure the child as well that they are worth fighting for and working with. The general perception is usually that the foster parents are too busy or don't care enough to try for a real connection with their foster. Therapists will also often suggest activities to build common ground and trust. If there is an older child in the biological family it helps if they create a friendship with the foster child. It is also helpful for the child to be included in all family activities even if they give outward signs they are not interested. Feeling like a stranger in their new home is very dangerous and contributed to major problems like depression and anxiety. Can you talk about the children that age out of the foster system? Foster children that age out of care at the age of 18 are also at extremely high risk to develop major issues if they aren't properly supported, which we lack funding for in the U.S. They are not given the proper education in most cases while they are in care and so when they are released there is often no way for them to know where to start. Many foster children end up homeless, addicted to drugs, or suicidal once they age out. Providing them with adequate knowledge and support is essential.

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Divorce is extremely common in the U.S. and that means there is a very high percentage of children who deal with their parents splitting up. What affects can this have on them? Divorce puts children at extremely high risk for mental disorders. The fracturing of their family, sudden upheaval of their daily life, and the pressure to behave all create a perfect cocktail of stress and emotional instability which contribute to this risk. Those who come from broken homes are nearly twice as likely to make an attempt on their lives and are 300 percent more likely to need professional psychological help. Often divorce also creates problems in school and children are twice as likely to drop out of high school or experience significant drops in their performance. Major change in family structure can have terrible effects on young people. What recommendations do you have for parents who are going through a divorce to lessen the strain of their child or children? For parents going through a separation or divorce, the more important thing is keeping an honest and open line of communication with their children. Often parents will get so caught up in their own turmoil dealing with the aspects of the split, they forget they have a small human going through something as well. Talking about what will happen going forward, how it will happen, and how those things are good and nothing to be scared of can be very helpful. But communication also means between the two parental units. If the adults are spiteful and negative during their interactions which are viewed by the child, a negative relationship forms. Even if things are tense, all efforts should be made to keep things civil and calm. Save the arguments for private moments and make sure the child knows you are there for them.

What changes would you make within the educational system regarding teaching and conversations about atypical families and home lives? Within early education, potentially even as young as elementary school, it should be a requirement to teach young children that not all families are the same. Setting a foundation of knowledge would be extremely helpful in both the children accepting their own home life as unique and not something to be ashamed of as well as making sure other children do not feel compelled to question or ridicule children whos home's are structured differently than their own. This applies to all aspects of the home and should cover a variety of topics like foster families, divorce and multiple set of parents via remarrying, interracial families, same-sex parents, and so on. Just as we promote diversity in individuals in schools we should also be promoting diversity within familial structures. Not only would this serve to eliminate discrimination, but it would protect children who have no control over the state of their home life and reduce their feelings of helplessness.

“Every child deserves a champion – an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection and insists that they become the best they can possibly be.” – Rita F. Pierson

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loving plants and other forms of self-care “if your heart is a volcano, how shall you expect flowers to bloom?” — khalil gibran submitted by Alexis Lynn Colliver In 2011 Sydenham Garden opened their doors to the community in South London as a center for health and well-being. They hold therapeutic gardening sessions weekly and just last year received over 300 referrals from health professionals. This newly coined "green therapy" is worth looking into for anyone suffering from mental health issues. Personally, taking care of plants has become a source of therapy as well as something that keeps me on track with my own self-care. When I was deep in my depression I would often put off showering and general hygienic care for days at a time. Something about the action of getting up and getting clean was so daunting. But, a correlation started to form in the care I took of my plants and of myself. On watering days, I began to shower, brush my teeth, and wash my face. If the plants needed the water, then I did, too.

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During the summer of 2018 I fell into a severe depressive state and purchased a houseplant in a desperate bid to find something to feel for. Because I felt a sense of obligation to the plant to keep it alive and well, it made sense to do the same for myself. If I felt so terrible that I really and truly could not get myself off my ass and into the bathroom, then the plant would go without water and begin to wilt. Often, in the depths of depression, you don't see yourself withering away. But the crisping and browning of leaves is an undeniable sign that a plant needs something. The threat of death is an observable instance. And the longer you go without caring for a plant, the more visible they make it that they are in need. And so I had to choose between my green friends and my unwillingness to take care of myself. There are a few reasons why mental health professionals theorize that plant care and gardening are so beneficial for a person's mentality. In general, spending time in, around, and interacting with the natural world is tied with two behaviors called emotion regulation and rumination. Regulation refers to the building of control over our own emotions. This is like a muscle and many people do not take part in activities which exercise this skill. Rumination is also known as the vicious cycle. Many people with depressive disorders can relate to this concept of being trapped in a downward spiral of negative thinking. Often it feels as though there is no way to get out of it, and that's where the emotional regulation comes in. Because gardening and plant care is a distracting and engaging activity, it promotes mindfulness and is a great time for self-reflection and introspection. It is the time to ask yourself "why am I so upset?". This is why so many individuals in retirement take up gardening as a hobby. It keeps your mind and your hands busy.

And have you ever wondered how some grandmas stay so spry in their old age? Check and see if they have veggies or roses growing in their backyard. Highmaintenance plants tend to require a lot of physical upkeep. Pruning, fertilizing, tilling soil, and so on. It is a benefit worth mentioning that the physical impact that outdoor gardening has is not insignificant. Even someone like me with a collection of indoor plants can benefit from the physicality. On days where I couldn't seem to drag myself out of bed to eat, I was able to stand up and move around the house with my little watering can. The drive to protect and nurture was strong enough for the little potted children even though it wasn't strong enough for myself. Next time you find yourself glancing at the plant section of a grocery store or a hardware store, stop and consider if the addition of some greenery in your life might benefit you, too. Even if you just start with a small low-maintenance one, creating a routine with its care may help you create a routine with yours.

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digital dopamine in a society dominated by social media and the need for validation, young people face the new dangers of online addictions.

Your phone dings with a notification from Instagram, someone liking your most recent selfie. Or someone has responded to the vacation photo you posted on your Snapchat story. Or maybe someone has retweeted the joke you made about the weird guy in you class. All of these events are common on almost any teen or young adult's phone. And they get you excited, to be noticed is the entire reason for social media. But what you might not have known is it creates a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is an organic chemical which is linked to the human experience of pleasure and focus. The problem with social media is that the goal of developers is usually to artificially trigger the production of dopamine so that people continuously use the app or social service. Dopamine is the same chemical which is produced in someone with an addiction to gambling. The high of a win is similar to the high of getting a bunch of likes on your most recent Instagram post. So this stimulation of your brain and nervous system is what makes checking and posting on social media so enjoyable and addicting. The reaction you receive is literally the same as someone addicted to drugs. and to be without it is a direct cause of mental health decline. This dangerous correlation between the use of social media and depression or anxiety in teens and young adults is becoming impossible to ignore and understand which this happens is important to help in preventing an unhealthy reliance on the websites and apps that make up the genre. Understanding the research and the facts as well as openly talking about them is important to fighting the negative effects. It is possible to enjoy social media a healthy amount but it takes effort. At the risk of sounding like an overbearing parent or an out-oftouch teacher (FYI the person writing this is in their early 20s), we're going to talk about some different social media platforms and why they're just bad. And while we know it's not realistic to expect everyone to delete all their accounts across the internet, the key to participating in the usage of these apps is knowing what to avoid and what the most immediate dangers are.

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It's impossible to assume that there is a perfect social media which won't contribute to the problem. Each with have their downfall but it is important to know what each one is doing to your mental well-being and to decide if you are personally willing to deal with the dangers. Many people have been taking to deleting certain apps from their phones or accounts as a whole to avoid interaction with certain forms of social media. The addictive quality becomes obvious when the only solution is making access to the app nearly impossible.

Another social media which is relatively new but has mimicked ones that already exist, like Vine or Music.ly, is TikTok. It has seen explosive popularity among younger age groups. Subsisting entirely on 15-second clips, this app plays into the concept of a feedback loop which causes users to feel compelled to scroll endlessly through the never-ending cascade of videos which range from comedic to sexually charged. It also promotes interaction and collaboration with other users by means of responding to videos with your own videos.

Instagram is one of the social apps which has received an intense amount of hate for its negative effects on young people. One of the reasons for this may be the sudden and aggressive influx of what have been coined "influencers". These are individuals who put on display their very luxurious lifestyle and idealized appearances. So the app has become a sort of competition for approval and likes, many desiring simply to one-up one another with their fake positivity.

One of the major dangers to younger users of the app is the presence of a large number of predatory adults who scour the content library for children to make contact with. There is little protection of accounts used by underage children and the dangers of these users accidentally revealing personal information is extremely high. This combination makes it all too easy for creeps to prowl for their next target.

Mental health experts have continuously cited the impending danger in interacting with this kind of content. Instagram is very good and making the user feel like everyone is perfect except them. And that means the influencers are doing their job, influencing you to want what they have. All they are doing is advertising but many users take this to mean that if they are not living that kind of life, they are not succeeding. Teenagers with mental health issues are extremely susceptible to anything that suggests it will contribute to their happiness. The fear of missing out pulls unhappy people deeper into their depression and exacerbates their anxiety. It has been reported that this app has the worst effect on body image as well, making it all around a big problem for teenagers and young adults who are most at risk for these negative feelings.

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TikTok also shares the dangers of body image issues with Instagram in that many videos involve a worship culture around impressing men. There is a major emphasis placed on dancing, singing, and dressing to appeal to the opposite sex. While boys do it too, the amount of underage girls dressing inappropriately and behaving this way is extremely high.


Lastly, and ranked the second most harmful social media for young adults is Snapchat. Again, another app that causes major issues with body image and sense of self. This app is well known for its filters which alter the shape of your face, the tone and smoothness of your skin, and often contain add-ons like make-up or glasses. The number of apps which are advertised to enhance a user's natural appearance to a more attractive state are extremely toxic. The influence of Snapchat has actually gone so far as to completely saturate the cosmetic beauty industry. It has been proven that women are often appearing at their consultations for cosmetic surgery citing their appearance in apps like Snapchat as a reference for what they want to look like. The beauty standards which these apps set for users are totally unrealistic but they prey on the fragility of young adults who are uncomfortable in their own skin.

There's also the prevalence of the use of the platform because of the functionality wherein the images and texts sent disappear immediately or potentially after 24 hours. This has led to teens and young adults often sending things which they assume will be safe in the ether following the first glance at them. However, it is possible for recipients to find workarounds and save the content that senders expected to disappear. From all this, we can conclude that it is unrealistic to assume everyone would quit social media for their own benefit. However, knowing the downsides and dangers can help users to protect themselves. Maintain your anonymity, be aware of potential predators, send private content only to those you fully trust, and be aware that what people display on the internet might not always be reality.

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resources

even if you may not feel comfortable seeking help from anyone in your immediate support system, don’t worry, you aren’t alone and there are other resources available. For free, confidential support if you or someone you love are in distress the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers their resources 24/7. Call 1-800-273-8255.

Other Resources: Office of Adolescent Health http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/adolescent-health-topics/mental-health The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health offers resources about adolescent mental health across states, mental health disorders and information on access to care. Office of Minority Health http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health website provides statistics, news and treatment information. Proud2Bme http://proud2bme.org Proud2Bme is an online community for teens that encourages healthy body image. The Jed Foundation http://www.jedfoundation.org The Jed Foundation is an organization committed to the mental and emotional health of college students and preventing suicide among this population. The foundation runs several free online self-assessment and resource programs for students and campuses. It offers training tools for campus professionals to improve their mental health services for students. The Trevor Project http://www.thetrevorproject.org/ The Trevor Project provides suicide prevention and crisis resources for LGBTQ youth between the after of 13 and 24. Youth.gov http://findyouthinfo.gov/federal-resources/federal-links Description: This is a hub of government information about youth mental health issues, including substance abuse, LGBT issues, bullying and homelessness.

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goodbye, for now We want to sincerely thank you for joining us for the first issue of Emote Magazine! Emote’s goal is contributing to the elimination of stigma against mental health issues. Conversation and openness is essential. We urge you to reach out to the people in your life who may be struggling and offer them your support. Thank you to Alexis Lynn Colliver, anonymous, and Lukas W. for your personal submissions and to Maria Vasquez and Beth Jacobson for talking with us. All photos sourced via Unsplash. Follow us on Instagram for more conversations about mental health and other helpful resources.

@emote.zine

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Emote Magazine Issue 1  

Welcome to the first issue of Emote Magazine! Emote’s goal is to educate and inform young people about the dangers of ignorance in regards...

Emote Magazine Issue 1  

Welcome to the first issue of Emote Magazine! Emote’s goal is to educate and inform young people about the dangers of ignorance in regards...

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