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This piece was done for this week's theme on The Artist's Challenge. The theme, "A Belief that Possesses the Mind", had so very many possibilities, from politics, religion, spirituality, to the superstitious. But for me, near and dear to my heart is the subject of teen depression.
Children are so full of possibilities. We as a culture, tend to find ways to squelch so many of those by our current obsessions with wealth, competitiveness - (sports or academic), fashion, skinniness, drugs and violence, to name a few. Be it male or female, we seem to be able to come up with a myriad of opportunities to give them the wrong things to focus on. Character, values, morals and positive role models are in short order these days. By teenage years they are so confused as to what they should care about, many are giving up or giving in. Too many stories of bullying, anorexia, bulimia, overdosing and binge drinking end in a bad way.
The following is an excerpt from the web site Teen depression.org:
Teen suicide is a major cause of death among teens, though many do not recognize suicide as a serious threat to a teenager’s well being.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents and teenagers. According to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), about 8 out of every 100,000 teenagers committed suicide in 2000. For every teen suicide death, experts estimate there are 10 other teen suicide attempts.
In a survey of high school students, the National Youth Violence Prevention Resource Center found that almost 1 in 5 teens had thought about suicide, about 1 in 6 teens had made plans for suicide, and more than 1 in 12 teens had attempted suicide in the last year. As many as 8 out of 10 teens who commit suicide try to ask for help in some way before committing suicide, such as by seeing a doctor shortly before the suicide attempt.
Teen girls and boys are both at risk for suicide. Teen girls are more likely to attempt suicide, but teenage boys are four to five times more likely to die by suicide. Over half of teen suicide deaths are inflicted by guns.
This piece was done regarding a story I recently read about a young girl's depression as the result of a bad home situation. She felt going home to alcoholic parents was like being sent to a jail cell every night...afraid to come out. Her eyes told her story. So with this piece, I enlarged the eyes - on purpose. It is representational of the beauty of a child's innocent eyes, that attracts so many people when they see a young child. What a sad statement on our current culture, that we don't stop to wonder or ask, what has taken the sparkle and glow of a child away from our teens when we notice it. How will we ever accomplish the task of being a compassionate, loving culture when we fail to open our eyes to what is in front of them and help to make a difference in a life?
To see more of my originals go to my web site Gail M. Allen Fine Art at http://www.gailallenartist.com