3300+ Climbing Blog
Written by Rita de Moura Santos
The times we live in are very dangerous for young people who are impressionable and prompt to struggle with addiction. We as a modern society have never lived through a period in history that has romanticized drugs as we are experiencing right now.
Substance abuse has been an increasing problem in the younger generations since the 70's, when hard drugs took over the streets of both American and European cities. Unfortunately, this problem has only been growing and there is only one thing that changed through time: perception.
In the past, people who did drugs were looked down upon and considered outcast members of society which resulted in them being disrespected and mistreated. Nowadays, the problem is different. People who do drugs are admired and even glorified by teenagers. And why? Research suggests that there is one factor that puts thousands of young lives at risk: The music industry.
A survey on music and mental health done by Help Musicians UK found that from a pool of 2,000 musicians inquired, 71% experience anxiety and 68.5% deal with depression. And sadly, many of these artists will resort to drugs and alcohol to fill in the void. How many times have we listened to a seemingly harmless song that talks about "popping pills" or snorting cocaine, like it is not a problem but the latest trend? How many times have we watched music videos in which the artists are abusing alcohol or doing drugs? At the same time you are listening and watching, so are thousands of young kids all over the world, who are absorbing and normalizing that behavior.
Teenagers are very impressionable and tend to repeat behaviors that they see in their environment and specially from people they admire. Musicians are people they admire, look up to and mimic very often. Imagine opening your social media every day and be bombarded with pictures and posts about drug and alcohol consumption, depression, suicide, etc. Imagine all your friends start partaking in their drugs of choice. Slowly but surely that starts being engraved in their brains and they are very likely to delve in the same world as the people around them. We have to take action now.
Unfortunately, we could not save some artists that struggled with these problems and died due to dangerous drug interactions such as Amy Whinehouse, Lil Peep, Michael Jackson, Chris Kelly, Whitney Houston, Mac Miller, among hundreds other fans who suffered from the same problem in silence. As a society we need to reverse this growing trend and educate young people on mental health and substance abuse before it is too late.
There are many little different things that we can implement in our day to day in order to improve our mental health and overall quality of our lives. These things are called "healthy highs" and are made to increase the dopamine, known as the brain chemical responsible for feeling excitement and happiness. Dopamine is easily released when practicing physical activity, sports and adrenaline activities. And Gamma-aminobutyric acid, which makes you feel calm and relaxed. This acid is extremely important for those struggling with anxiety and can be found in nuts, bananas, oats chamomile and is naturally produced by our body when practicing soothing exercise, such as yoga, pilates and meditation.
So now it is your time to take action, for yourself and those you know. We have to come together as a society and make the topic of mental health and drug abuse less tabu. Let's support each other, even those we don't know and just silently observe on social media, and provide mental health help as well as wellness support for everyone. We have to reduce the tragic losses of talented young people. Now.
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This is a blog following the students' work at 3300+ Climbing.