It’s Okay to Say You’re Not Okay

Hayoung Kim and Marlee Rafter

Mental health issues have always been an ongoing problem for teenagers because they do not tell people how they feel at school and home. The standard society has set for teens is that everything should be picture-perfect. Moreover, people expect them to respond with the usual, “I’m fine, how are you?” They don’t bother to think that teens may be masking their genuine emotions and feelings.

“Teen depression may be linked to learning to feel helpless — rather than learning to feel capable of finding solutions for life’s challenges,” Mayoclinic states. Often, the world does not accept others for their differences. Some teenagers feel they have to mask their problems and authentic self to be approved or fit into the category of society’s so-called “normal” teenager. Many teens can encounter a time when they feel lost and anxious in their thoughts. Negative beliefs about themselves can keep piling on and on and can eventually lead to giving up. Teens frequently feel like no one supports them and guides them around all of life’s challenges. Others feel like they are a burden to the ones they love. Many believe that life would be better if they are gone.

“… It’s often very hard to judge who is suffering from a mental illness or how it affects them,” author Hannah Allaway states in her article Here’s Why Mental Illness Jokes Aren’t Funny, “So, you never know what effect your words might have on someone.” Many teens and students are too afraid to admit to their family and peers about their ongoing battle with their mentally unstable self. There are countless cases when teenagers are fighting and struggling in silence, just because they are afraid of the reaction from their peers. Because it is difficult to know whether a person is dealing with a mental issue, jokes about physiological health, such as depression and OCD, can offend others deeply. Insensitive comments such as, “Oh, I’m so depressed because my parents didn’t let me go to the sleepover” can scar those dealing with mental issues. Seeing everyone joke about their problems can be hurtful, but they laugh along with the joke. Teens are less likely to confront others when they feel as though they are the punchline.

According to, “Talking about your feelings can help you stay in good mental health and deal with times when you feel troubled.” Although it may not seem like it, when teens talk to someone about their problems and feelings, like a counselor, friend, or parents, it can help relieve stress and make them feel better. It is not a sign of weakness. It is part of taking charge of their well-being and doing what they can to stay physically healthy. No matter how they might feel, good or bad, it’s healthy to put their feelings into words.

The saying goes, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Call 1-800-273-8255 for help; this is the national suicide hotline. If you don’t feel okay, or you are going to attempt something terrible, remember; you matter.