Before I get into the specifics of my project and how the pandemic has impacted mental health and caused an uptick in depression in teenagers, I’ve compiled a list of resources for anyone struggling with any kind of mental health issues. You are loved and needed.
Click here to see the list of resources.
According to the Child Mind Institute, some of the symptoms of depression include:
These symptoms are most alarming when they persist. For example, a change in sleep patterns for a night or two at random is probably not a cause for alarm, but a constant change in sleep patterns along with other symptoms is worrying. However, these symptoms can also be easy to miss and easily overlooked. It can be difficult for family members and close friends to identify, but it can also be hard for the person experiencing these symptoms to recognize.
There have been many studies done on the impacts of gratitude on various mental health conditions, including how it affects depression. As a part of an assignment for my positive psychology class, we researched the neuroscience of gratitude. Here are some of the benefits of gratitude and the neuroscience research to prove those benefits, according to positivepsychology.com:
It was harder to find scientific studies to support how the performing arts can be beneficial to mental health, but there were a lot of personal accounts of how theater has saved people’s lives. The theater is just like any other creative outlet, and here are some of the benefits of it according to Reset Brain and Body:
I’ve made some of my closest friends through theater productions, people that I feel safe with, and who encourage me to be vulnerable around them. In my experience, the theater is (typically) a non-judgemental community that takes in people, flaws included. While theater might not be the right outlet for everyone, experimenting with healthy coping mechanisms can lead to finding the one that works.
People who suffer from depression tend to experience a lack of wanting to engage in activities that they once loved. Even if they want to participate, it might seem like an impossible task in their mind. While gratitude and theater can be used to reduce symptoms of depression, both of these activities require engagement, so it’s essential to help encourage your loved one to be present. From the Child Mind Institute, here are a few things that you can do:
These steps can also be implemented in people without depression to help prevent symptoms from developing in the future. Also, encourage people to find healthy coping mechanisms. Pay attention to your loved ones and check in on them every so often. One thing I’ve learned from working on producing ‘Night, Mother is that struggles with mental health look different on everyone, and no one truly knows what’s going on in someone else’s mind, so it’s crucial to let your loved ones know that they are valued and supported, no matter what you interpret their mental situation to be.
If you’re comfortable, share below the (healthy) coping mechanism you use most often and/or find the most effective. Do you practice gratitude? Have you ever tried being a part of the performing arts, or do you enjoy being an audience member? How can you be a better supporter of your loved ones who might be struggling in silence?
I appreciate you all taking the time out of your day to view my project. This is something that is very near and dear to my heart, so it feels really satisfying to have it out to the public with the possibility of helping someone else.
Remember: you are loved, valued, and needed in this world. Once again, here is a list of mental health resources if you or someone you know is struggling.