The mental health of girls and young women has deteriorated in recent years. More and more of them are struggling with stress, depression, and are forced to take antidepressants. What do young girls from the North notice about this, and is the subject negotiable enough at school? This is the opinion of the DVHN Youth Panel.
Alisa Bos (16)
“I hear quite a lot about mental health, including from my friends. Well, I don’t really have anything to compare it to, but I’ve heard that friends think “what am I doing it all for?”. I myself sometimes had days when I had little motivation to get out of bed at all.
I think the coronalockdown has had an influence on that, because of course we were really in a rhythm first. You go to school, you do your homework, you talk to your parents and your friends. During the lockdown you spend a lot of time at home, and you have much more time to think. I think it might be a little bit of that.
At school the teachers try to pay attention to it, but I think that many students do not feel comfortable enough with that. There may be exceptions, but I personally prefer talking to friends and family. If you have a bond with each other, it also becomes easier to discuss. But if you don’t have anyone, or you want to lose something, the teachers are there for you. It’s nice to have that option.”
Sophie de Vries (15)
“I see around me that people sometimes have a hard time, but I never hear from my friends that they take antidepressants. What I do notice is that they are less cheerful now that school has started again. Many young people also have a job and play sports in a team, and with school that is sometimes quite stressful.
The corona period was also quite difficult. Well, I don’t really have a specific example, but if your home situation is not good, then it becomes even more difficult to keep feeling good in such a time. I think that the mental health of all young people, not just girls, has deteriorated during that time.
During the corona period, attention was sometimes paid to mental health, because then there was really a reason for it, but in the last year I never heard anything about it at school. Personally, I think the subject is negotiable, but that is of course different for everyone. If you really suffer from depression, it may also be more difficult to tell it in a large group at school. Then it is better to talk one-on-one, or with your parents.”
Linda Aalderink (17)
“It has been more difficult than usual since the corona period, and in my immediate environment I see that some girls suffer from mental complaints more than average. It’s not always that extreme, but sometimes it is. Depression, for example, or that you really don’t want to live like this. A few years ago I saw that in my immediate environment. As a result, I was not very comfortable in my own skin at the time, but I received a lot of help from school, from my own environment, and from my parents. In that respect I really received the right guidance, and I no longer suffer from it. I especially learned a lot from it.
Because I have autism, it is often less easy for me to deal with change than for others, but the corona period was not too bad for me. In the beginning it was very unclear what was going to happen, one day you can do everything; the next day there are all new rules. I had the most difficulty with that, but staying at home was less of a problem for me.
Whether more attention is now being paid to mental health, I do not know. It was also brought to the attention before corona. I can always go to my teachers anyway, at our school they are always open to that. We also have a student coordinator if your mentor cannot help you or if you have bigger problems. At least there is always someone to go to. I think it is important and nice that there is always someone to talk to.”