Why are juniors depressed? (+5 tips that help)

In this article, we help you understand why juniors are depressed and how to release the tension that is present in junior year. 

Since your first day of high school, you’ve learned about the dreaded, but iconic junior year. The year in which your homework is endless, your test schedule out of control, and everything matters. College is on the horizon and you sense every decision’s weight. All is so daunting.

For good reasons, the reputation of how challenging a high school junior year is will make teenagers afraid. For students, it is an important and busy year. But with careful preparation and the right mindset, it does not have to be an excessively stressful year.

Why are juniors depressed?

Teens experience strain in other aspects of life, along with social media and other forms of technology. In school, depression is caused by all of these variables. Here are a couple of the problems faced by them.

  • Technology and social media
  • School pressure
  • Relationships
  • Lack of coping skills
  • A brain that is still developing
  • Nature deficit disorder
  • Bullying
  • Junior year is busy
  • Starting the process for college applications
  • A Tendency to Overextend

Technology and Social Media

Teens today face perennial teenage problems, as well as problems that have been unknown to past generations. Technology in general, and social media in particular, are among the main contemporary issues for youth.

Undercover High, a new A&E documentary film, finds that for teens, social media is a primary source of anxiety and pressure. Teens become depressed as compared, according to one undercover student. And teenagers also relate their lives on social media to the people they follow.

Moreover, on social media, they believe they must uphold excellence. The emphasis on screens and social media eventually causes harm to relationships, schooling, and extracurricular activities. Thus, it can lead to teenage depression, as well as ADHD, defiant oppositional disorder, and anxiety.

School pressure

A degree of academic pressure is faced by many teenagers. However, the strain is made worse by an unpredictable environment and tough competition for college and graduate school.

Relationships

In high school or college, teenagers usually undergo their first intimate relationships. Although this is a vital part of the growth of teenagers, it can also be emotionally demanding. This is especially true if teenagers do not have guidance and assistance in navigating this new terrain.

Lack of coping skills

The teens of today are more secure than they were in the past. Parents strive to protect them from failure and disappointment encountered. Therefore, teenagers often have fewer opportunities to develop resilience. They don’t, thus, learn how to deal with obstacles.

A brain that is still developing

In teenagers, the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain that regulates self-regulation, is not fully developed. They have a restricted capacity, therefore, to exert power over their impulses. As a consequence, this leads to risky behaviors for teenagers, such as drug abuse and risky sexual decisions, which can harm teenage mental health.

Nature deficit disorder 

Today’s teens spend so much time on computers and homework that they almost don’t get out enough. Nature deficit disorder is a term in his 2005 book Last Child in the Woods, invented by Richard Louv. It refers to the fact that people, especially children, spend less time outside, contributing to a wide range of issues with behavioral and mental health, including depression.

Bullying

Bullying in school is directly associated with teenage depression. More detail on bullying and depression is below. Research has found that in-school bullying and depression are often associated. In school, victims of bullying are at greater risk of depression. Depression in school because of bullying could also be a factor in teen suicide.

Furthermore, a report by the US National Institutes of Health found that cyberbullying victims showed more symptoms of depression than other victims of bullying. Also, in school years, children who bully others often have an elevated risk of depression.

Junior Year is Busy

In their junior year, students have to juggle a great deal. It can be challenging for teens to balance everything on their plate with heavy course loads, standardized tests, and extracurricular activities (not to mention attempting to have a social life).

A slow academic start of a freshman or sophomore year is typically not a cause for concern, but a drop in the performance of the junior year may be a problem, particularly if a teenager applies early decision or early action to college. Colleges are searching for upward trends in grades and proof that in core subjects students can stretch mentally and academically.

Starting the process for college selection

Juniors will need to start dreaming about the future and doing college study if current obligations are not adequate to deal with them. Teens must take a four-digit universe of 2,242 colleges and universities and turn it into a two-digit list of possibilities: the tentative list of the dozen or so schools that they think they would want to join. VanDeVelde explains. It’s not a small job and it’s important for learners not to approach it lightly.

A Tendency to Overextend

Planning and organization are the secrets to making a manageable junior year. “Junior year is a busy one, but it doesn’t have to be too stressful,” Maschal says. Planning regularlyBesidesand recognizing that the process of college is a marathon, not a sprint, will save a lot of time and energy for both students and their parents along the way.

Statistics on junior depression

Adolescent depression is more and more prevalent in school. Unfortunately, mental illness is still a social stigma among people of all ages. As a result, students in high school and college frequently hesitate to seek help with depression. Around 60% of teenagers who experienced a major depressive episode did not receive treatment of any sort in 2016.

Adolescent depression in schools is on the rise, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

  • In 2016, an estimated 3.1 million teenagers aged 12 to 17 had at least one major depressive episode in the United States. In that age group, this number reflects 12.8 percent of the US population.
  • In 2016, more women than men suffered a severe depressive episode (19.4 percent of females vs. 6.4 percent of males).
  • An approximate 2.2 million American teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 had at least one major depressive episode with a serious disability that year.
  • Just 19% of these teenagers have received treatment from a health provider.

Types of Juinor depression

Several forms of depression are present. The following are the most common depressive disorders.

Major depression

A significant depression may make it difficult or impossible for those who struggle to perform regular everyday tasks, such as working, learning, sleeping, and eating.

Persistent depressive disorder 

A low-grade, persistent depression that may strengthen or worsen with time

Melancholic depression

An especially serious type of major depressive disorder with recurring feelings of intense disappointment and hopelessness.

Psychotic depression

It is a serious depression that is followed by delusions or hallucinations.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

A cyclical depression that comes and goes with the seasons. 

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder 

A severe type of premenstrual syndrome that can manifest itself as mood changes that are serious and debilitating

Signs of Junior depression

Knowing how to identify signs of teenage depression is critical for teens and their friends and family members. Here are 10 of the most common signs of alert.

  • Avoidance of social conditions and lack of interest in tasks favored
  • Exhaustion, chronic tiredness, and widespread lack of energy
  • A feeling of hopelessness, sadness, and despair (sometimes escalating into suicidal thoughts)
  • Lack of motivation (which results in either feeling of guilt or failure)
  • Unexplained aches and pains, headaches, problems with your stomach
  • Hard time with attention (particularly for teens who used to be focused)
  • Feeling worthless, irritable, irritated, or getting a low self-esteem serious case
  • Disturbed patterns of sleep (taking naps during the day, insomnia at night)
  • Appetite and weight changes (including not eating on a regular basis or binge eating)
  • The misuse of alcohol or drugs as a means of self-medication to cope with pain

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Techniques to deal with Junior depression 

Spend time in nature

Spending time in nature through outdoor therapy will, in a variety of ways, improve mental health. For one, it has been shown that time outside decreases levels of stress, depression, and anxiety. Moreover, it is proven that being outside in nature decreases stress by lowering the chemical cortisol associated with stress.

Meditation for Teenagers and Yoga

A growing number of studies indicate that meditation on consciousness can help improve mental wellbeing for adolescents. Meditation helps us not to get wrapped up in them, but to witness our thoughts from a distance. A review study at Johns Hopkins found that in treating symptoms of anxiety and depression, meditation was just as effective as antidepressants.

Exercise

Research indicates that by increasing the development of endorphins by the body, exercise combats depression. These are the “feel good” chemicals for the brain. Moreover, it will improve feelings of superiority and self-confidence by performing a physical activity that you enjoy.

Reframing stress

Distress can be converted into eustress, meaning constructive stress. Several tests of karaoke singing, public speaking, and math success from a Harvard Business School report found that individuals who reframed their anxiety as excitement performed better than those who told themselves to remain calm while feeling anxious. Think of difficult circumstances as possibilities for learning and developing.

Sleeping

If you get enough sleep or not can have a huge effect on mental health. Researchers have found that when they don’t get enough rest, teenagers feel more stressed and anxious. Scientists found that each hour of missed downtime was correlated with a 38 percent increase in the risk of feeling depressed or hopeless and a 58 percent increase in suicide attempts in a study of nearly 28,000 high school students.

Social Support 

Several studies have shown that mental and physical wellbeing is strengthened through social relationships. The more we have encouragement, the more resilient we are to depression. Find individuals you trust who will listen to you and make an attempt to consider what you are going through. Parents, friends, guidance counselors, and mentors may be part of your support network. Support may also be offered by a mental health professional.

Eating right

An increasing number of scientific studies show that diet and mental health are directly related. In addition, this is particularly true of kids and teenagers, whose brains and bodies are still growing. At this stage of life, nutrition is therefore important.

In this article, we helped you understand why juniors are depressed and how to release the tension that is present in junior year.

What we recommend for depression

Professional counselling

If you are suffering from depression then ongoing professional counselling may be your ideal first point of call. Counselling will utilize theories such as Cognitive behavioural therapy which will help you live a more fulfilling life.

References

https://www.teenlife.com/blogs/dealing-junior-year-stress

https://www.teenlife.com/blogs/6-tips-reduce-junior-year-stress

https://www.newportacademy.com/resources/mental-health/adolescent-depression-in-schools/

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