#EMOTIONAL PAIN: REAL OR MANUFACTURED?

Both. There are many selfies (pictures and GIFs) of young people crying, displaying scarred wrists, and holding up cue cards revealing painful secrets. Sometimes these images are an attempt to receive attention from peers or friends, especially since they know these pictures will draw comments. Sometimes these images are a demonstration of true pain, sometimes they are manufactured attention seeking. The bottom line is, whether these public displays of pain are real or manufactured, they are a cry for help and sometimes, youth don’t believe they have anywhere else to turn. As previously mentioned, teens are growing up in a digital world where it is the norm to over share. It makes perfect sense that struggling teens are also going to share their pain online. It is much easier for someone to post a picture of heartbreak than it is to walk up to an adult and ask for help. There is also a stigma surrounding mental health issues and while admitting personal struggles is difficult, the online world offers them a kind of diary to document their feelings.