Self-injury, self harm, cutting, burning. All of these terms have been prominent in our society for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a little kid, I saw commercials promoting anti-depressant drugs and I remember watching in fear, wondering how someone could be so unhappy. As I grew older I became more and more aware of the situations that bring about depression and other mental illnesses. We were taught about the different mental illnesses all through middle school and the teachers emphasized them in high school. It’s almost as if the teachers knew the prevalence. Although these emotions have always been around me, I never thought they happened to so many people. I had no idea how many people struggle with depression and anxiety. People may have been depressed throughout all of history, but I feel as if self harm is becoming more and more prominent in today’s society.
So why? Why has self-injury and self harm become a more household term? I believe that our society today puts extreme amounts of pressure on the children of this generation. Statistics show that today 3%-38% of adolescence have inflicted self-injury or self harm on themselves. Because it is usually done in private, the statistics could vary and possibly be a higher percentage. There is also a shift and increase in the amount of college student cut themselves. By college, the pressure to succeed is more forceful due to the fact that the “real world” is so close. The onset of self harm is said to be between the ages of 12-15. These are around the ages of those in middle school, the largest adjustment and a big time for bullies and other insecurity. By 15 teenagers are in high school and learning more about themselves. A young mind is very easily damaged by words and bad thoughts.
Society today puts and excessive amount of pressure on our children today. Yes, doing well in school is important, but not to the point that we push our kids to harm themselves for not reaching their parent’s expectations. I believe that we need to take a step back and let children learn and not be pushed to perfection so much.