TURLOCK -- The long sleeves, the jacket, the hood, the smile all to hide depression, one of the best disguised realities in high schools across the world.
Fearing the resentment and ridicule of classmates, students with depression hide their feelings and hope for a savior to come along.
Many organizations have been formed to help people of all ages who face issues such as self-injury, depression, suicide, addiction, etc. One of those nonprofit groups is To Write Love on her Arms, or TWLOHA.
TWLOHA recently asked high school students to become involved by raising money and competing against other high schools across the nation to generate the most money. And Pitman High School in Turlock is a participant in the campaign, known as The Storytellers.
The closest competing high school is in Stockton.
Every cent matters.
People can donate online, at www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=212375, or to Pitman's Anti-Bullying Club, the host club.
Pitman also is selling TWLOHA bracelets for $5; any money raised will go to the organization.
Many people refuse to discuss sensitive topics such as the increasing number of suicides and the even greater number of the depressed among not only adults but teenagers.
For teens, who are already attempting to find themselves and overcome peer pressure, the challenge can become overwhelming.
Seeking help is more difficult because it means breaking the news to their parents: the father whose reaction is unpredictable and the mother whose reaction might be sobbing and grief.
In a search for a lifeline, these depressed youth too often disappear unnoticed because they don't send out SOS signals. The rest of us have a responsibility to keep a watch out and help those in crisis.
For those who are suffering, help is closer than you realize. Take off your hoodie, reveal your need and welcome help.
Rubani Virk is a junior at Pitman High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.