AFH artwork by Ariane Fleming
Mental health issues continue to hit teenagers every year.
“Rates of depression and anxiety among young people in America have been increasing steadily for the past 50 to 70 years,” according to psychologytoday.com.
Today, one in five teens and young adults live with a mental health condition, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
“Teenage depression isn’t just bad moods and the occasional melancholy,” says helpguide.org. “It’s a serious problem... that can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, self-loathing and self-mutilation, pregnancy, violence....”
Mental health experts say parents should supportively talk to their children, and seek professional help if these warning signs do occur: feelings of hopelessness and hostility; frequent crying; withdrawal from friends and family; and lack of motivation.
Another factor to deal with is social media. While many teens view social media as a creative and fun outlet, others nd that it only adds pressure to an already-stressful period in adolescence of having to always measure up.
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Janna Mach / AFH Photo
Access to healthy food is a global issue. That means both overseas and here in America.
According to feedingamerica.org, 48.1 million Americans – including 15.3 million children – live in households that lack access to sufficient amounts of nutritious food.
This food insecurity can be especially damaging to the physical and psychological development of young students and can stunt their academic performance.
And while the junk food outlet down the street may be affordable and accessible, it is surely not the answer.
According to health experts, those calorie-dense edibles can lead to a number of teen health issues, including obesity, diabetes, and even depression.
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Daja Taylor / AFH Artwork
Domestic violence not only affects men and women but children, too.
“More than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes every year,” according to safehorizon.org.
This can impact children physically and emotionally, health experts say.
“Children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death,” says safehorizon.org.
Children can get depressed and blame themselves for the abuse. They might get into trouble at school. They even may become abusers themselves when they grow up.
Domestic violence is an important issue that needs to be addressed for adults. But let’s not overlook the children -- the forgotten victims and silent sufferers.
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AFH photo by Aijanah Sanford
I remember when I had to deal with racism. I think I was in the 7th grade and I barely talked to people. Whenever people heard my name they thought of negative things, like I was someone bad. I usually ignored it but one time it just got to me.
When someone got into an argument with me, he said stuff because I was Muslim. My friends stood up for me and that made me feel better. Now I am more accepted as just a human being.
But not so for everyone. Many Muslims are getting made fun of. There are a lot of stereotypes, such as all of us being terrorists and stuff. I don’t get offended as much now because I know it’s not true.
I also remember when I was watching a video on Facebook when Donald Trump had a rally. There was a Muslim woman wearing a Holocaust symbol. She had that on because she was comparing him to Hitler.
She was escorted out of the place and then Trump’s supporters started hooting and hollering at her.
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Mai Ru Shu and Haiyan Wang / AFH Artwork
I adore elephants. They are just big (around 13,000 pounds), beautiful animals -- harmless and chill.
They’ve been around for millions of years.
And yet heartless hunters want to do them in -- 35,000 are killed every year, according to an August 2014 article on nationalgeographic.com.
“Entire families of elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory,” says the piece. “The global appetite to own trinkets carved from elephant tusks has dealt a crushing blow to these plant-eating pachyderms that roam the forests and savannahs of Africa.”
From Asia to Africa, elephants are revered for their strength and smarts. Elephants employ their tusks for digging and defense but humans have sought the ivory material as a symbol of wealth for use in their artwork, jewelry, and ornaments.
Those intending to hurt elephants -- including organized crime syndicates -- need to back off.
Protectors of wildlife are on their trail, as evidenced by this February headline in The New York Times: “Ring of Elephant Poachers Broken Up by Tanzanian Authorities.”
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