Thursday, 7 May 2009

Cry for Help - Being a teen is a mental illness

PBS has a documentary on it's site, Cry for Help. Teenage Mental Illness and Suicide, that represents one huge piece of propaganda for NAMI and screening programs like TeenScreen (check out "Recources: Hotlines and Web Sites for Parents") and STEPS (Screening, Treatment, and Education to Promote Strength).

Here are some quotes from the featured story of Stacy Hollingsworth, who today works for NAMI, NJ:

Question: Why did you hide it [her "depression" and suicidal thoughts] from your parents?

Stacy Hollingsworth: I didn't want to hurt them. I knew they would be the type of parents, who would feel they were somehow to blame for my illness. (...)

Q: Were you afraid at all they wouldn't understand?

S.H.: (...) If they did have a negative reaction to it somehow, it was something that I couldn't escape. They would be in my life the whole time.

(From "Stacy", 1. part)

Sharon Hollingworth, Stacy's mother: And then I thought, it was all over, this was the end of all those dreams a parent has for her child. She certainly wasn't going to have the life, that I had hoped and expected her...


She never really had a chance with us, because we never opened the dialogue. And I guess, she didn't want to disappoint us, or worry us. She was the perfect child.

(From "Stacy", 2. part)

Well well... But no, of course it weren't inhumane expectations to this "perfect child", or the "overachiever", or "All-Star-daughter", as the documentary also describes Stacy, that were causing her trouble at an age, where about everybody, as a quite natural part of their personal development, starts to question among other things society's norms and values of perfection and perfect achievement. Nope. It was a chemical imbalance in the brain, that, as it will seem to me, most if not all teenagers do suffer from. Just as a remarkable number of teenagers suffers from a biological brain disease, that's called "I'm coming from a broken home", "I get bullied", or something else along those lines.

Yes, indeed, the documentary mentions these things. Nevertheless, I got the impression, that being bullied, growing up with violence and abuse (if it is in the shape of parental expectations of perfection, or other) is caused by the victim's defective brain. NAMI's essential message: Depressed? Suicidal? Never ever blame your parents, or society! Blame your brain!

I wonder, why screen at all? Why not straightforward call being a teen a "mental illness", and NAMI-style drug up everybody above age, hm, let's see, 12? 10? or no, wait, it's "early intervention" isn't it? so, 8 maybe? who isn't yet on one or the other or several kinds of mindaltering drugs?

There are numerous options to comment on (and rate) this piece of propaganda at the site. Make use of them, if you feel up to facing tons of NAMI-parents' cheers. Right now, I myself don't.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for catching this Marian. I missed the show but know the subject.

How is Lord Tennyson?

Marian said...

Anonymous: Lord Tennyson is fine, thanks. Having a good time out in the field, now that spring is here, together with his Spanish girlfriend Rebeca. :)