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Peer Pressure & Mental Health

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

"After successfully publishing our blog - 'Gentle Parenting' by Manali Chakraborty (dt. 11 April 2022), we are back with its sequel" - Team Forward

“Pressure from Peers will not give you Fears but Tears in the end. Peer Pressure is a disease… just don’t fall for it.” – Olivia Kwartemaa

As we are trying to sort our feelings through psychology and the internet, high school and college students are attempting suicides, and quite a number of them are being successful at it.

There was a decline in mental disorders among students in high schools and colleges from 2000-2007 but it nearly tripled within 2007-2017; with 48% of ones here now, at risk of gneral anxiety, 45% at risk of social anxiety and 39% at risk of PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Statistics have some meaning, right?

I know, many aren’t even that surprised. Trust me. I'm a kind of in that category. Peer pressure, family pressure, boredness, adolescence, low self-esteem and so on, they need to hit us right at same point of time; especially when our academics need to be at their zest of excellence for us to have a ‘brighter’ future. We all think at one point. What is the use of a bright future, when my present is this dark and I'm not even enjoying myself with something that I would have to do for the rest of my life against my will? Work isn't only for the sole purpose of earning money, or is it? Of course not. Work is for better maintenance of mental health too.

Decline in the mental health of the youth preceded the pandemic, but students are now dealing with stress, disengagement, headaches, eye strain and loneliness. Sitting at home, all day, at that one daily ‘throne’; disturbance and distractions from the sidelines (typical Indian parents?) must not be our daily routine, right? Breakfast in bed, No physical education periods, No fun of art and craft classes like school, No hanging out with friends! When you were supposed to be at the peak of your enjoyment in life, you are, sitting at home in fear of the pandemic days after days with no hope of betterment of the situation, staring at your gadgets for hours, straining your eyes, knowing you’re potentially going to have to deal with a throbbing headache for the rest of the day. It isn’t definitely fun, right? Unlike what elders would like to think, this affects more than what meets the eye. This isn't like “okay, you’ll just not be able to see your friends at school for a few months and have to study from home.”

That disinterest, tiredness, lethargy that accumulates within you overtime which you don't even realize unless it becomes unbearable to the point that expressing it just becomes a temper tantrum in front of others. Your parents are going through the same thing as you are. Their job is potentially at risk which can lead to… well let’s not mention it here, actually we all know that. But does that make it any less painful to us than at that time being? The brain may know that we need to be understanding now and make peace with necessities and not demand luxury. But that inner feeling that constantly knocks you at the back of your head is…what is that? And those class toppers? Still topping in spite of these conditions? What about that?

“Mental health issues are linked with decreased mental capacities, which may affect academic success”. This statement from ‘Stigma and Help-seeking for Mental health among college Students’ probably summarizes our pathetic state, post-COVID. Then, online exams, tests, cancellation of the boards hadn’t helped us to keep it real in those 2 years. Our mental health had so many blows to handle within that time gap, that being thrown again in these normal conditions suddenly, made us fall. This time, in a deep pit, where we still don’t know how to effectively fight this and climb up to our original mental capacity and continue further. On top of that, we aren’t being given time to cope up. Everybody wants us to just, move on and transform into the students we were a few years ago. The depression and anxiety have already bereft us of our mental capacities and academic excellence. This is science talking, and not consolation. And the fact we are abundantly told “we had more time to study, sitting at home, from the safety of our homes, from the comfort of our homes…” is absolutely irritating, which at the same time, guilt-tripped us like no other and lowered our esteem even further down to the deepest. We aren’t exactly that little to not understand real life problems and make sacrifices. But sometimes, sacrifices, we are willing to make, still aren’t enough. It doesn’t make a tad bit of a difference, really.

“Families at home are also going through severe stress with conflicts, job stressors, financial problems, parental conflicts and even abusive relationships.” We understand. But in return, who understands us? Who understands that, regardless of the age group, each age’s prime problem is the most important and difficult for them? Well, even if adults do, they really don’t have a good way of showing it. Does it show the author’s pent-up frustration or am I reciprocated?



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