A Site for Teens Who Are Depressed or Suicidal Due to School

MichaelStrong

For many teens, schooling is one of the most challenging and, for some, dangerous aspects of their lives.  Because those who advocate for schooling are typically those who liked schooling, the schooling establishment and their supporters tend to be entirely blind to the damages caused by conventional schooling. 

First some data:  Every year, teen suicide rates go up about 20% when the school year starts.  They decline somewhat over holiday breaks, then go back down about 20% during summer again.  How do we know that this seasonal cycle is due to schooling?  Because not only have researchers controlled for other variables, but most compellingly the seasonal pattern disappears around age 18.  Once students are no longer forced into an environment in which they have no agency, and in which they may be systematically bored, humiliated, and bullied, then their spirit revives and the seasonal suicide pattern, corresponding to the school year, vanishes.

If this data doesn't get parents and teens to take the potential damage from schooling seriously, I don't know what will.

For teens in crisis due to schooling, thankfully the School Survival Blog provides abundant resources: 

"What to do if you're suicidal?

Try to stop going to school as much as you possibly can. I know it's hard with people nagging you, maybe threatening you or even physically forcing you to go... but your life is important, far more important than some grades or your parents' approval.
Also, Read about alternatives to school. Our Help & Support page has some links to organizations that can help you get out of school.

If school is constantly making you depressed - There's a lot of stupid information about depression out there in the world. If school is depressing you, it doesn't mean there's anything wrong with you or the chemicals in your brain. School is a depressing and unnatural environment, and your depression is a totally natural reaction to it. Getting out would probably be the best thing to do (but far from the easiest thing to do, as you can probably imagine)."

Many of those resources allow teens to continue learning (or, most likely, to learn far more rapidly and more deeply without the horrific stressors associated with the schooling experience).  The good news is that in many regions there are more and more alternatives to traditional schooling.  Some areas, for instance San Francisco, Austin, St. Louis, and New York, offer more and more alternative and innovative schooling options (See The Academy of Thought and Industry, for instance, which I founded).  In most states one can get an education online.  Homeschooling and unschooling options are now common.  Teens do not need to suffer to the point at which they are depressed, anxious, or suicidal.  Runaway from any counselor or therapist who claims there are no options.  Seek out those who support the exploration of innovative educational options that do not require a loss of agency, that do not require boredom, humiliation, and bullying.       

Please share with any depressed or anxious teens or parents of depressed or anxious teens.  In many (most?) such cases, the problem is not with the child.  The problem is the school.  All teens should be supported to find ways out before they harm themselves.

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MichaelStrong
MichaelStrong

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