Don't leave them alone!

Publish date 02-03-2023

by Max Laudadio

The story of Eva and many other teenagers marked by anxiety and depression

Eva is a young woman. You are thirsty for choices to make and hungry for things to discover. She smiles at the world, she is sunny, and when the world forces her to cry, she indulges it and then she smiles again.

Eva is open to dialogue, she likes to tell stories, share her projects, talk about her loves and her friends. You are capable of stopping, reflecting, and then starting again, even on those occasions where it seems to be difficult.

Like all teenagers, she experiences some contradictions, where the adult part of her, decisive and independent, collides with the one fueled by hugs and requests for attention.

But she fights, struggles, to find her place in the world, to enjoy it totally, without risking losing any opportunity.

Eva has a very close relationship with her family, it is her safe harbor, even if that harbor sometimes seems invisible to her eyes, as if the fog enveloped it and prevented her from recognizing it, perhaps also fueled by the normal distrust of those who are still growing up.

At school Eva is a responsible student and her performance has always been very good, fueled by absolutely high personal ambitions. Eva loves to cook, dance, sing, and perhaps her sport is her less natural aptitude than hers. She loves having fun with friends to whom she gives herself totally looking for the necessary empathy that generates complicity in them. She places herself with everyone with trust and, sometimes, pays for this immense availability of hers, even if never so profoundly as to affect her attitudes towards her.

In short, Eva is a girl of this new millennium, and as such she lives, dreams, loves and hopes.

Unfortunately, however, these last few years characterized by an unexpected pandemic and marked by a war that seemed possible only in video games, have turned Eva's life upside down, like that of hundreds, thousands of teenagers like her.

Recent international studies, conducted in many countries in addition to Italy, have led to results that are almost reductive to define as alarming: one teenager out of four shows clinical symptoms of depression, one out of five shows signs of an anxiety disorder and one teenager out of three resorted directly to psychological support. But it is also very striking to read the percentages of young people who seem to have lost the confidence that distinguishes them by age: 32% of them today seem to have a very low level of optimism, while it even reaches 50% if we consider young people in whom have low expectations for the future.

«Living in part, or in an atypical way, milestones such as the final exam, the attainment of majority age, first loves with all that is annexed and connected, for the world of psychic significance of a young person could be comparable to a mourning; in this sense it can be considered a trigger of anxiety and depression» says Claudio Mencacci, director emeritus of neuroscience and mental health at the Fatebenefratelli-Sacco in Milan.

In summary, what happened to Eva, who all of a sudden stopped studying, started not sleeping, no longer believing in her future, in her dreams, in her friendships, transforming her joyful life into a hell from which he can't get out, it's not an isolated case but, on the contrary, it's a small example of one of the most serious social problems since the post-war period, and which involves a large part of future generations.

However, I am convinced that today we adults are called to face a responsibility which we cannot fail to follow up on now. Without wasting any more time, without trying to pretend that the solution comes without our direct involvement, without forgetting that if we don't take care of our children today, we are destined to have an even sicker world in the future than it already is.

Please don't leave them alone. Let's fight together, for them, for their future, for their well-being, because everything becomes useless without our children's smiles and dreams.

Max Laudadio

NP Dicembre 2022

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