Op-Ed Draft – bmdpiano

Growing Pains: It’s Even Harder When You’re a Teen in 2019

Today, teenagers have a hard time mentally as they continue to blossom into adults. As an 18 year old myself, I’ve just entered the stages of adulthood, yet I have faced and still face the harsh realities of mental health declining in America. In the last 20 years, mental illness has been on the rise in young people (ages 10-24) with the most common mental health issues being depression in addition to anxiety and it continues to get worse with no concrete action.

I believe that some of the most convincing evidence comes from the horse’s mouth and it would be fair to say in this instance, seeing that 70 percent of teenagers — across demographic groups — saw mental health as a big issue according to a recent survey by the Pew Research Center. We as Americans should face this problem with urgency as the numbers of these mental illnesses continue to rise in teenagers. There are many reasons to why this is occurring in the generation most recently affected by 9/11. Many tie anxiety to the school environment because of the horrific mass shootings, others are affected by the stress of a faster paced life, and the repercussions of social media certainly take a toll on mental stability. 

I see the main barrier in aiding the situation to be the lack of access to care. Not only do states vary their lack of health insurance coverage to mental and emotional issues in children (the highest rate being 16% in Oklahoma), but our country is also delivering insufficient treatment. The percentage of youth with severe depression who received insufficient treatment (less than 6 or no sessions of treatment) is as high as 85.4 percent in South Carolina and many other states are not far off. The government must understand that just because the youth is being treated for care, does not mean it is the proper treatment. 

Being in this stage of life, I see many friends around me suffer with depressive thoughts and anxious feelings. I have even experienced them myself, especially in high school. I remember the  time I experienced my first anxious thoughts. It was in my freshman year of high school and they were due to a schedule too stressful for a 15 year old girl. There was too much pressure and not enough time to be a kid, which probably contributed to my poor mental health even more. This is just one instance in which mental health can dismantle important moments in life. Today I have learned to manage when I become anxious, but for many, it is not that simple. America needs to open their eyes to this problem because declining mental health will not fix itself unless the right awareness and care is offered.

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2 Responses to Op-Ed Draft – bmdpiano

  1. davidbdale says:

    Thank you for the guidance, Piano. It helps me tremendously to know what you want for advice. I’ll try to avoid distractions and provide what you need.

    P1. You first call teens THEY and then identify as one yourself, at which point WE should take over, but why start with THEY at all?

    We teens have a hard time blossoming into functioning adults in this era of declining mental health.

    I won’t do that again, but isn’t that breathtakingly efficient? Grabber, isn’t it?

    The rest of your Intro would benefit from some hint of just who you think is responsible to take concrete action, and what you think that action should be.

    You spend two full lines of type setting up for a big claim about what youth believe to be critical to their well-being and then faint at the finish line, Piano, with “they see mental health as a big issue.”

    What does that mean? Danger from rampaging psychopaths? Or does it mean they feel depressed, anxiety-ridden, suicidal, and can’t find the help they need? Either is possible. But your essay gains SO MUCH persuasiveness when you GET SPECIFIC with your claims.

    See the vagueness?
    — see mental health as a big issue
    —face this problem with urgency
    —these mental illnesses (that I haven’t named)
    —this is occurring (whatever THIS is)

    Your verbs need some muscle too: (tie, affected by, take a toll)
    Consider instead:

    Many teens SUFFER trauma from the horror of school shootings; they WITHER from the breakneck pace of modern life; they CRACK under the pressure to live up to their social media avatars.

    The fact that “states vary their lack of health insurance coverage” is not a persuasive argument of denial of treatment, Piano. Some “vary” by offering excellent coverage.You want to emphasize the danger of living in the WRONG state. I see you take that advice later in the paragraph.

    An intriguing hint about improper treatment needs development. Don’t miss that chance. Give it a paragraph of its own.

    You chose the right moment for personal reflection and anecdote. We’re ready for it (partly because that opening sentence started with a personal identity out of the gate). 🙂

    Your anecdote, though, falls a bit flat. Anxiety about a busy schedule, as traumatic as it may have been, is not a story. Tell us about the panic attack you had standing at your locker when you realized the books you needed were on the table back home and you literally collapsed to the floor over nothing but a simple geometry quiz.

    Even though your are the embattled teen working through some stuff, you are also still America, Piano, so it’s never “America needs to open their eyes.” It’s always, “America is better than this. We need to open OUR eyes.”

    Overall, yes, you are off to a good start. I hope you heard that through all the complaining I do. I think this will be a fine essay, nicely balanced between personal reflection and carefully-chosen statistical evidence. Carry on, Piano. And reach out any time for more interference. 🙂


  2. bmdpiano says:

    Hello! I would like feedback on this first draft please. I am not sure if this is too short for an Op-Ed or if I executed the purpose correctly. If I am off to a good start, then I have a good idea of what I need add. Please let me know when you can. Thank you!


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