The disorder of modernity: Depression

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This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Behnaz Rahati, a 5th-year medical student from the Golestan University of Medicine, Iran. She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writers and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.

It is likely that we passed by a time when being young meant being free of concern, responsibility, and mental issues.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports one in every six adolescents is diagnosed with a Mood disorder. This makes adolescents even more susceptible to mental health problems (1). In the middle of a chaotic world and crisis in economic, social, and political aspects of our lives, modernism is the alternative to the response of many traditional moralities and boundaries (2).

As a consequence of modernization, the adolescent period, with all its special changes, needs, and formation and reformation processes, is harder to experience. As adolescents, we seek social connection, acceptance, cultural fitness, and recognition and identity. The 21st century bombards us with the social obstacles of a modern world, constantly rising criteria for happiness, and social isolation. As modernity has a strong link to perfectionism and idealism, social media makes the situation even more complicated by bringing fantasy lives, constantly seeking more popularity and finding our place in society. A key point in this situation is to work with the media for responsible reporting of suicide, to foster socio-emotional life skills in adolescents, and to familiarize them with mental health red flags. National mental health plans should be developed for schools, workplaces, and families to identify, assess, manage, and follow up on mental health issues. It is important to provide mental health services to adolescents as well.

Also, peer relationships have a crucial role in preventing depression and suicide among adolescents. In adolescents, peer relationships play a significant role in determining the severity of their depressive symptoms. Training adolescents with skills to improve their social support system has been associated with significantly decreasing depression and suicide rates among adolescents (3).

Using this method, challenges include stigma and taboos surrounding seeking mental health help, talking to psychologists, and misinformation about using psychiatric medicine. By raising awareness about mental health and reducing stigma, the community, parents, and adolescents can make a significant contribution to curbing depression and suicide.

A second challenge is to obtain statistics and data quality about the true number of people with suicide ideas and suicide attempts, as well as evaluate the current systems for supporting them. The improved data on the needs and gaps could enable the national plans to allocate resources to these important issues with a higher level of efficiency.


    2.Bindas KJ. Modernity and the Great Depression: The Transformation of American Society, 1930-1941. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas; 2017.
  2. Adedeji A, Otto C, Kaman A, Reiss F, Devine J, Ravens-Sieberer U. Peer relationships and depressive symptoms among adolescents: Results from the German BELLA study. Depression and Anxiety. 2022 Jan 3.

About the author

Behnaz Rahati is a 5th-year medical student from the Golestan University of Medicine and a member of the Medical Students Iranian Association (a member of (IFMSA)). She is a former local officer of The Standing Committee on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights and general assistant of vice president for international affairs. She is passionate about sexual health and rights and public health management.

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