Depression is a horrible battle, and Gary (last name withheld) knows this first hand. When he was 15, his mother married someone he didn’t like. He never saw his dad. He wasn’t happy at school, and he wasn’t happy at home. He felt like he was grounded all the time. It all got so bad, to the point where he wanted to die, so he wrote a suicide note. Today, he says the note was a call for help, and he didn’t really want to die. His mother found the note, and took him to the Western Institute of Neuropsychiatry for evaluation, and they said he should begin inpatient therapy. His mother left him there for 8 weeks. Gary received counseling, and it helped to talk to people and work through his issues. He wasn’t really going to kill himself, he just wanted things to change. Gary wants teens to know this because he doesn’t want teens to feel alone. He wants them to know it’s okay to speak up.
Colt Roundup interviewed teens who struggle with depression and noticed similar answers when students were asked about causes of depression. The two main causes people noted were society and pressure. Society has a big impact on teens today because it sets such an unrealistic expectation, and if teens feel like they don’t meet that expectation, they could fall into a depressive state or may even become depressed. Pressure is a thing everyone experiences in their life, but for teens in this generation is feels like pressure is everywhere from friends, family, school, and even from themselves. Not all pressure is bad. It can help teens, but too much pressure on a teen can take a toll on mental health, physical health, and academics.
Parents should know that there are ways to try to prevent teens from being depressed, but depression isn’t something you can 100% prevent. These are just suggestions if you are worried or your teen is at risk. Here are some things that you can do to help your teen from Mental Health America. Try to make new friends. This can help with a teen’s self esteem and provide a positive social outlet. Participate in sports, jobs, school activities, and hobbies. Staying busy helps teens focus on positive activities rather than focusing on negative feelings or behaviors. Join organizations that offer programs for young people. These can help teens develop additional interests. Ask a trusted adult for help. This is one of the more important ones because a lot of problems can’t be handled alone. Teens should never be afraid to ask for help. As a parent or guardian, you also need to make sure your children feel comfortable talking to you or help them find another trusted adult.
A child’s well-being is important. Here are some signs of depression from Karen Swartz, a psychiatrist and director of clinical programs at the Johns Hopkins Mood Disorders Center. Signs include changes in mood, feeling sad or low, irritability, and feeling nothing or a lack of enjoyment in formerly pleasurable activities. Changes in physical symptoms include an increase or decrease in appetite/changes in weight, sleeplessness or not being able to get out of the bed in the morning, not being able to focus or concentrate, having little to no energy, and agitation or restlessness. Sometimes teens may try to relieve these symptoms by self medication via drugs, alcohol, or self harm. While looking for these symptoms make sure to look for clusters of symptoms lasting for at least two weeks.
If you have observed symptoms of depression, there’s still hope. Find a therapist or mental health specialist. These professionals may recommend other therapy to help with depression. With all of this, remember that communication is key.