Teens under Pressure: Vicki

Generation on the Brink
Dr. Phil turns to Vicki Abeles, producer and co-director of Race to Nowhere, which features candid stories of young people, parents and educators from across the country who have either closely witnessed or experienced the adverse effects of teens constantly being under pressure.
 
"I hear you saying things that make me believe you agree very much with Dr. Lawlis, that we need to change the way that we educate these kids, and we need to de-stress them in their lives," he says.
 
"Absolutely. I think today we're at a unique time in our history where kids are under tremendous pressure. It's coming from the colleges, it's coming from the education system, it's coming from the culture, from the parents, from the kids themselves," Vicki replies. "The intent of this film is to bring communities together to raise awareness on these really important issues that you're talking about today, to generate a dialogue, to give the students a voice in this conversation, and hopefully to create the political will to change what we're doing."
 
"What are you seeing with Adderall and these other ADD and ADHD drugs?" Dr. Phil inquires.
 
"There are a lot of kids that are on ADD medications. Oftentimes, those drugs are being sold to the kids who are taking multiple AP courses, who are under a great deal of pressure to perform and achieve," Vicki explains.[AD]
 
"When that pressure builds up, if that child's internal dialogue is: ‘I can't keep up. I'm not good enough. I'm not smart enough. I'm not as competitive as these other kids,' then they start to feel overwhelmed, and then they start to slide back down the hill. True?" Dr. Phil asks Dr. Firestone.
 
"Absolutely true," she replies. "On our Web site PsychAlive, which is for the public, we really address these negative thoughts, and how they're affecting your self-esteem, how you feel about yourself, and we have ways for people to start to journal about those negative thoughts, to start to externalize them."
Turning to previous guests Mariann and Laurie, Dr. Phil elaborates on Dr. Firestone's points. "Sometimes, it's hard for kids to be objective about themselves because it's happening internally," he explains. "If you can get them to write this stuff down, it gives them distance from it. They can look at it on paper and go, ‘My gosh. That's what I'm telling myself? No wonder I feel like crap!'"
 
Hill adds, "A lot of the young people don't believe that their parents are actually interested in what they're interested in, so therefore, they feel like, ‘Well, you really don't want to hear it from me anyway.'"
 
[AD]Dr. Phil reveals common myths about suicide.
 
- Suicide always occurs without any warning signs.
- Once people decide to die by suicide, there is nothing you can do to stop them.
- Suicide only strikes people of a certain gender, race, financial status or age.
 
Click here for a complete list.
 
 
Dr. Phil shows more footage from Hill's discussion with the students. After passing out blue note cards to the teens, Hill directs them to write down their responses to the following questions: "Give me three things that stress you out the most. Give me three things that you're most afraid of. In your opinion, define success."
 
He assures them that their answers will remain anonymous. Back in Dr. Phil's studio, he reads a few responses.
 
Learn what Hill says surprised him.
 
[AD]At the end of the show, Dr. Phil tells Mariann and Laurie that he will provide resources for them. Dr. Katherine Hathaway, a therapist in their area, will work with them and their daughters to help them move forward. 
 
If a friend or loved one is talking about or planning to take his or her life, reach out for help now. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-TALK (8255).