You Be the Judge.
As I peruse the timelines of social media and current news stories, the problem of depression in young adults is evident. The visions of their inability to explain the pain that they can’t find the words to verbalize is repetitive on every media source. The news report stories daily of young people who have committed suicide, overdosed or had a drug induced psychiatric crisis. Why is this happening?
In a perfect world we could say “they just weren’t raised right” or “no one loved them”. I can definitely tell you that those thoughts are inaccurate. Depression is not caused by a person’s upbringing or the lack of love. If that were so, we could fix it immediately. For many people Depression begins at a very young age, sometimes triggered by a traumatic experience. The child that was abused verbally, sexually, emotionally or mentally. The child that experienced domestic violence as a toddler. The child that experience bullying by family or peers. It could simply be caused by a chemical imbalance.
Regardless of the cause, Depression can be exacerbated by stress and feelings of low self-worth. Historically, we would expect a person to graduate high school, immediately go off to college and become some great professional success. For the most part this is the way things happen, however, there are a substantial amount of young people who are unable to cope when faced with the struggle of life. They have been unable to learn effective ways of what has come to be known as “adulting”. Adulting is defined as the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks. Parents are ready to push them from the nest and send them off to fly on their own at age 18, though in our hearts, we know they are not ready to “adult”. As I reflect on my first college years, I can recall the struggle of being on my own and having to learn to live through my depression. Dreadfully, I can also recall friends and friends of friends who were unable to cope with their struggles. Their inability to cope lead to the use of alcohol, drugs, irresponsible sexual acts and even suicide.
Now, for you parents that assume that you are very close to your young adult child and they are doing great, let’s visit a few questions. Did you admit all your thoughts and feelings to your parents as a young adult? Did you tell them everything you experimented with or experienced? Did you have friends that you had to help keep secrets from their family? While you recollect, you should realize that young adults probably don’t share every thought with their parents. Some thoughts are difficult to verbalize and unable to be shared. There are some thoughts, they only want to share with a peer or someone of similar age, who may be able to share similar experiences. (hence, Peer Support Groups)
As a professional who has worn many hats from social service to social work, I have seen many programs that cater to children and senior citizens. There have been few, if any, that were directly targeted for young adults starting at age 18. This age group is often opposed to therapy or unable to afford the services. They project the thought that someone would think they are crazy if they attend therapy. The college students are often unwilling to accept the college services because they don’t want their innermost thoughts and feelings documented in their college records. As a result, many of those young people start using alcohol or drugs to chase those feelings away for a short period. Not unlike adults of older age groups.
The Dear Nicheland Project was created to try to provide a solution by offering our service to the often-overlooked age group of 18-35. We offer an opportunity for young adults to talk about their feelings with like-minded peers of similar age. Our Peer Support Groups give the opportunity to share information in a confidential and safe space. We do not discuss information shared in the group with others outside of the group unless, someone is in danger of hurting themselves or someone else. Our goal is to provide a chance to free the painful thoughts of depression, anxiety and stress as well as learn tools to cope with the overwhelming feelings of Depression.
You Decide. Is there a need for The Dear Nicheland Project?