People of Richmond: Why do you think teens are so sad?
on November 25, 2023
“People of Richmond” is a regular series in which reporters pose a question to people in the community. Answers are presented verbatim, though sometimes edited for brevity.
Q: Why do you think chronic sadness is so prevalent among WCCUSD high school students?
“I’m a student athlete and I work. Sometimes I feel like I ignore my own feelings so I can get through the day.” (Alejandra, high school senior)
“The environment is not safe, so definitely the schools aren’t safe and this makes the students depressed. I think we need to start by fixing our environment. That’s the first step to helping our kids.” (Eddie Castro, security guard)
“Well, with my personal experience, I feel like at one point, I thought to myself, ‘I’m depressed.’ But then as I matured, I started to realize that I wasn’t really depressed, I was just, I don’t know, I was influenced that I was. But it was all in my head, I feel like. Now looking back, I don’t see why I would have a reason to feel so depressed.” (Oscar, 10th grader )
“All our tax money is not going to the right places. We should be putting more money in the schools. We used to have Little League baseball that was very active, but now it’s not as active as it used to be. The kids need extracurricular activities to keep them busy and happy. There is also much violence in the city. This violence extends to schools. So kids go to school in fear and this affects their mental health.” (Marcus Mitchell)
“Maybe they don’t have friends or teammates.” (Jesus Beltran (code enforcement crew)
“Probably some people just think it’s bad to not have friends or they want attention or something. They just think about being sad. They don’t think about the good things like just waking up in the morning, or like, just at least going through the day with no problems.” (Kristian, 10th grader)
“Devices. Social media has a lot to do with it. Maybe their social life isn’t as busy compared to peers. I feel like the younger generation is on devices all the time.” (Tina Silano, entrepreneur)
“I’m not quite sure. My son does environmental research. He was saying lower income areas don’t have as much trees or greenery. If you’re walking where there’s blight, it’s going to give you a form of depression or get your spirits down.” (Yvonne Guyton-Johnson, real estate broker)
(Richmond Confidential identified students in this Q&A only by their first names.)
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