Death Effects Teens

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Death Effects Teens

photo by: Charlee FitzMaurice

photo by: Charlee FitzMaurice

photo by: Charlee FitzMaurice

photo by: Charlee FitzMaurice

Charlee FitzMaurice, student-journalist

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Everyone has or will experience the death of loved ones. Different effects take place when a loved one has passed, but many do not realize how teenagers feel.

When a family loses a loved one, it can lead to grief which then leads to effects on body, mind, emotion and well being.

The online magazine TeensHealth reports that emotions such as sadness, anger, guilt, despair, and relief can all be experienced by a person after the death of someone in their life. They may feel regret and have body changes in their appetite, sleep, upset stomach, and emotional displays.

Clairemont High School Registered Nurse Sascha said, “Any family member feels grief in a bunch of different ways, teenagers internalize everything. Absolutely a normal process to blame yourself even if you can rationalize that it wasn’t your fault, you still feel the guilt.”

TeensHealth additionally reports that grieving is a healthy process by being comforted, coming to terms with the loss and finding ways to adapt. 

Getting over grief over a passed loved one does not technically mean forgetting about the person who died.

“We all experience it differently; there are phases to getting through the grief that we all go through as teens and adults. Everybody has their own way and own timeline, there is not one right way to grief,” Nurse Sascha added.

It is also good to get support from friends or other family members. Taking care of oneself is another big part of getting over grief.

Clairemont High School senior Mackenzie Little said, “Parents definitely need to pay attention to their children because many are dealing with feelings they don’t understand.”

A way to take care of oneself is to sleep, exercise and eat right; sleep is healing for both the body and the mind. Physical activities can help someone’s mood, but the body still needs nutritious foods according to TeensHealth.

Online health magazine Living Strong reports that when death happens during adolescence, it can complicate a teenager’s natural process of defining their identity in the world. The death of a parent is considered one of the most painful, if not traumatic, experiences for a child.

“The death of a loved one is definitely traumatizing; it is like a part of you is gone. Realizing that they are really gone and you’ll never see them again or hear their voice it’s definitely a traumatic event,” said Mackenzie.

Some students agree that death can be a traumatizing moment in their life.

Health and Medical Academy sophomore Sophia Blomquist agrees that death can be an impact on teenagers.

“I think any death even a pet death, impacts everybody. If it was a hamster to a dog, it always causes grief. It’s always going to be sad even if you barely knew them. You can just have met them after fourteen years, and they die a month later, you are still going to feel grief.”

Livestrong also reports that behaviors of a teenager can change such as having lowered self-esteem, an increase in anxiety levels, depression, and even guilt.

Death of a loved one may cause a lot of damage to a person mentally. Some teenagers could go through depressive states and might get so depressed that they will harm themselves physically according to the online National Public Radio (NPR) program This I Believe.

“What any teenager should first do is cry because a lot of teenagers decided to lock up their feelings and not cry about it. I think all teenagers should go through grief and maybe talk about it to a loved one or counselor or therapist,” said Blomquist.

Magazine Psychology Today reports that in early childhood before the mind is conscious of death, humans develop defensive strategies to cope with emotional frustration and primitive separation anxiety. The defenses one develops are used to avoid emotional pain and block out negative experiences.

Mackenzie said, “I think teens need to be more open about their pain during the times of loss.”

Teens need to realize that they are not alone when they are going through loss. They can go to counseling, go to therapy or find someone who will listen to them Mackenzie added.

Ms. Blomquist said, “If the family isn’t there then a best friend. It doesn’t have to be a friend you have known for a week. It can be any friend that you feel that you have a close connection too.”

Having a loved one pass away is a sad moment for the family and friends, but there are always people that the teens can go and talk to about their grief.