Is depression the illness of the new generation?

Monika Novkova, an 11th-grader at 73. SU “Vladislav Gramatik” in Sofia, explores the important issue of depression among the young generation. Check out what her research has found out about why young people feel often depressed and what they understand about this condition.


With certainty in the past years you’ve heard a lot about mental health and mental illnesses – they’re all over the internet, they are mentioned in almost every book and movie. And in the same time the number of mentally ill people is constantly raising, the statistics are frightening and more and more children seem to have lost their will to do anything and are constantly not in the mood. But what is the actual problem? Is it possible that the new generation is more depressed than any other or there is something else?


Firstly, we should not oversee the fact that just recently it became socially acceptable to speak about such things as depression and anxiety. People drew attention to the topic, hoping that would help everyone struggling with mental illness, but we all know that not everything can be trusted – some things in the movies and the books are changed so the story sounds better and some of the information in the internet is inaccurate. And although nowadays is appropriate to talk about depression, often the actual problem is not that the person is mentally ill – they could be just going through a difficult period.


But many people don’t understand that. sCOOL Media conducted a survey among 70 Bulgarian students. They were asked what depression in their opinion is, if they have ever felt depressed and what the most common reason for depression is. Here is the catch – depression rarely has a defined reason. It’s normal to be sad about a bad grade or problems with your parents or to grief about losing a loved one. But depression isn’t only that – it’s a serious mental condition which lasts for more than two weeks.


The youth doesn’t see it like that though – the most common answer to the question what depression is was “to be sad or to be hopeless”. Also, answers like “it’s something that people pretend to have only to get attention” could not be overseen. We can easy come to the conclusion that most of the young people misunderstand this condition although it is one of the most discussed topics in the last few years. We should also mention the results from the question “What makes you feel depressed”. As we said, in reality most of the times there is no specific reason for feeling depressed, especially when you forget about it after a couple days. And still, the most common answers are things like bad grades, fights with family members and friends.


The most interesting thing is that out of 79 people only 9 have never felt depressed. So is depression only a misconception that the youth uses too much or there are nowadays many things that make us feel sad, hopeless and dispirited and we just don’t know how to cope with them? The pressure we feel – at home, at school, at work, the feeling of being lost and having no idea how to be an adult are constantly following us and the parents don’t seem to understand the problem. 35% of the students wouldn’t talk with anybody and 40.5% would talk only to a friend when there is something that makes them feel depressed. Seeing a psychologist isn’t an option too, because it is too expensive and most of the asked students don’t think they would get any help.


So after all there maybe isn’t anything wrong with the new generation. The adults just seem to be unable to understand them. In times like this, when everything is changing every day and the world is constantly developing, the adults just don’t have time to catch up and most of the young people tend to feel lost, misunderstood and most importantly alone. The question shouldn’t be what is wrong with the new generation and why they are always talking about depression. It should be “How we help them find themselves and make them not feel alone?”. We need to stop relying on old ideas about how things should be and constantly expecting success. We should adapt to the changing world and support the new generation in order to prevent them of becoming the constantly depressed generation, when in reality they should be the bright future of our country and of the world.