“I didn’t even realise I was – was depressed, that is. I thought everyone must have suicidal thoughts. Of course everyone routinely thinks about killing themselves.”
As someone who has recently met with counsellors regarding anxiety and depression, this resonated deeply with me. It’s something I strongly believe, but to have someone put what I assume into words and to directly contradict it… Let’s just say it’s making me look at life differently.
The only critique is that it could have featured a wider range of voices: it felt as though a lot of the same themes were reoccurring (attending university being prominent throughout, expected as it began as a university project) and it would have been good to get representation for all shapes, colours and classes. I’m sure that’s something that will improve as more volumes get released, because more and more people will become aware of the project and will get involved.
I’d recommend this for people of all ages, even if the letters are written with 16 year olds in mind. Parents who didn’t experience mental health issues in their youth could gain some idea of what their children feel, which will teach them to be more empathetic. Young people who are struggling will get support and encouragement by reading this book, which could put them on the road to recovery. Similarly, young people who don’t suffer will have their attention brought to those who do, making a more informed support network for those in need.
This project is extremely necessary, and couldn’t be more timely. Earlier this year it was discovered that anxiety and depression amongst teenagers has increased by a whopping 70% in the past 25 years, and I think it’s time that we take responsibility as a society and start working together to do something to help.