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We are Losing the War on Mental Health Against Depression

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The articles title is “Associations among bullying, cyberbullying, and suicide in high school students” by Sheri Bauman in the Journal of Adolescence. This study analyzed relationships between depression, suicidal behavior, bullying others, and being a victim of traditional bullying and cyberbullying. They studied a group of 1,491 high school students using data from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior survey. The data was collected by surveying high schools students in grades 9-12 at the local, state, and national level. The surveys were randomly given to students in different classrooms who were all eligible for it. Certain factors they looked for were if there was a difference between grades 9-12 and if there was a difference between the races of American Indians, Asians, Blacks, whites, Native Hawaiians, Hispanics, and multiple races. They also looked for differences between males and females with depression, suicidal behavior, bullying others, and being a victim of traditional bullying and cyberbullying.

Their hypotheses were that females got cyber bullied more and have a stronger chance of depression as a result. Their other hypotheses were that males bullied more traditional and on the web than females. Their last hypothesis was that depression has a strong link with traditional bullying and cyberbullying, causes suicidal behavior in victims of bullying, and teens in general.

The results were really interesting and some of them were predictable. The researchers were right that males tend to bully other students more because they were three times more likely to bully traditionally and cyberly. What’s interesting is that 9th graders and 12th graders were more likely to bully because those were transitional periods in their lives with more stress and tended to be more vulnerable to depression. They found out depression has a strong link with bullying others in both ways and in victims of bullying. Major Depression by itself had a strong link with suicidal behavior but depression combined with any of these other factors such as bullying others by traditional or cyber methods, or being victims of any of these could turn depression into major depression. The researchers also correctly predicted that women get cyberbullied much more than men which tends to lead to depression and suicidal behavior. What was really surprising to me was that hispanics had the highest rate of depression and it did not say why.


I chose this article because I could personal relate to it. I was depressed my junior year in high school and sometimes I did think of suicide but I never attempted it. I really struggled with taking care of my mental health. My parents took care of my physical needs such as food, shelter, clothes, etc. The school took care of my intelligence but no one ever taught me how to manage my mental health. My dad didn’t take depression seriously which made it incredibly hard to talk to my parents about it. I honestly didn’t think my parents took care of their mental health so how were they going to help me take care of mine. My dad broke his back when I was three and was disabled. He was depressed for a long time and had a very hard time dealing with it. I know how hard depression can be so I want to do my best to help prevent it and help people with it. That is why I chose this article to get a better understanding of the factors that cause it and what can help fight depression.

I always figured they was a big connection between depression and suicide. This article said there is a strong link between suicide and major depression. I believe that is accurate because depression can really make someone feel like there is hope of getting better so you start to feel like you don’t want to live anymore and consider suicide. I try my best to help people The article’s solution to reduce suicide in high schools is that we need to have bullying prevention programs and suicide intervention programs. I agree with this but I honestly feel like we need to do a lot more than that. Most schools have a zero tolerance bullying policy but they don’t punish cyberbullying much at all. Cyberbullying is a big cause of depression and suicidal behavior in females according to the article. I personally have seen examples of women getting humiliated on social media often by girls and boys. They usually got away with no punishment or just told to delete the tweets/posts by the school. We need to have firm consequences for cyberbullying and to teach kids why what they did is so wrong.

We also need to educate high school kids on sexist double standards that cause mostly girls a lot of stress and sadness that can lead to depression and suicidal behavior. In college, we have a one hour training prevention on sexual assault that actually talks a lot about slut shaming. Guys and girls shame women for having sex while praising men for it. Calling a girl a slut is much worse for her reputation and self-esteem than anything you can call a teenager boy. I have seen girls get attacked on social media repeatedly and shamed for being normal and being sexually active as humans are supposed to be. These poor girls even commit suicide sometimes and it breaks my heart. They aren’t hurting anyone either or doing anything wrong , it honestly enrages me how much society belittles women over how they dress to how many partners they have when it’s none of their business.

Males are also three times more likely to cyberbully and traditionally bully than females and I feel like schools need to address toxic male attitudes about being violent, dominant, and aggressive/angry. All throughout my highschool years, my male friends and I thought it was cool and manly to be a violent, tough guy. We thought it was cool to not have feelings, to fight other guys, and not ask for help, just to man up. I didn’t think it was cool to bully others but a lot of other guys I knew thought it was funny to pick on others and to disvalue others to make themselves feel better about themselves. They were often depressed themselves just like the article showed there’s a strong connection with depression and bullies on cybermedia and in person.

These aggressive boys also tend be violent towards girls and I have seen many boys bully girls for turning down their sexual requests. A lot of guys in high school look at girls as sex objects and are very aggressive towards them. New York has started mental health classes for k-12 which is a great first step. We need other states to follow and teach young men it’s better to be kind, loving, to seek help when needed, and how being violent and angry will most likely lead to depression. We can also teach young men and women in these classes how to manage stress properly, how to be happy, and when to get help, hopefully before they consider suicide. Depression is linked with high school students bullying others and being victims of bullying so mental health classes designed to promote happiness will be a big help in lowering bullying, depression, and suicidal behavior which is on the rise. We have PE because we know how important physical health is, it’s time we take mental health just as seriously.

Relation to Course Content

This article relates to the class in many different ways. Let’s start with parenting styles such as authoritarian, permissive, and uninvolved which all have less happier kids than authoritative style parents. Unhappiness is linked to depression and depression has a very strong relationship with bullying others traditionally and on the web. It also has a correlation with being victims of bullying. Uninvolved parenting style leads to lower self esteem and less self control. A lot of bullies have low self esteem and are depressed so this I believe this parenting style does have a good chance of producing bullies. Authoritarian parents usually hit their kids too and are very demanding. This also leads to depression due to more pressure and stress. And we know from the article that depression can cause kids to bully traditionally and cyberly, and getting depressed from being bullied. Which all links to suicidal behavior which is on the rise. In order to stop this, we need to require parents to at least take one hour of an online class on parenting to have better parents which results in much happier kids. Of course a lot of parents might not listen but a lot will. I know many students in our class have already seen Authoritative parenting is the way to go.

Open family systems that support their kids to talk about what’s bothering them will be a gigantic help too. I know my parents were a closed system and it was really tough to bring up issues that were bothering me if they were against them. This would cause more stress that my parents were so inflexible on certain issues. My parents never took care of their emotional health much either so if I brought up a difficult topic or problem I had, they might get too emotional and not even help. A lot of my friends struggled with this too and especially girls because the parents are extremely strict on the girls in some cultures which puts a lot of pressure on them.

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