Awareness- Teen Depression
So I recently danced for a mental health awareness performance, and I learn’t so much that I never knew before. There are a lot of people who are suffering from this mental illness. Due to lack of awareness for these mental illnesses, it is often looked over and downplayed. However, depression can be very serious and everyone should be aware of what they can do to help their peers who are suffering from depression. Statistics show that approximately 20% of teens are depressed, and less than a third are being treated for it.
A study led by the Université du Québec à Montréal shows that there is a link between the transition to high school, and an increase in the number of teens being affected by depression. The study also showed that if a teen previously had signs of anxiety, then the chances of that developing into depression during the transition to high school was significantly high.
So now that we know that so many of our peers and loved ones are at risk of depression, how do we know if they are a victim of this mental illness?
The most common warning signs among teens include:
Sadness - If someone seems to always be crying or in a bad mood, it can be a more serious issue
Irritability/Anger - Over sadness, irritability and being angry is one of the most noticeable traits of a depressed teen
Low self-esteem - Depressed teens tend to have poor feelings about themselves, and they often feel unworthy
Extreme sensitivity to criticism - Since many depressed teens have significantly low self esteem and confidence, criticism can be very hard to them. They will often act defensive and sensitive to any sort of criticism
Lack of motivation - Teens often will start to show a lack of interest to activities that they might have enjoyed previously
Less active - This goes hand in hand with the lack of motivation, as they will have motivation to be active
Isolation - When teens start to isolate themselves from their friends and family, it can be a big sign of depression. However, just because someone has friends, doesn't mean they aren't isolating themselves. One doesn't have to be completely lonely to be isolating themselves.
Putting less effort into their appearance - This also has to do with the lack of motivation, as teens will have less motivation to put effort into their appearance
Problems in school - Depression can cause teens to have less energy and concentration, therefore affecting their school work and attendance. They also tend to get into more problems with their peers.
Talking about death or suicide - This is a symptom that should always be taken very seriously. If a teen is talking about these things, medical help should be taken immediately.
Running away - This is often a symptom of depression as it is often a cry for help
Substance abuse - Teens often turn to drugs and alcohol as an attempt to self medicate, but unfortunately doing this will only make it worse
Reckless behavior - Depressed teens often tend to associate themselves in high-risk behaviors such as violence, substance abuse, reckless driving, and much more
So what happens if you know someone who you believe is suffering from depression, what can we do for them?
Encourage them to get help - If you believe someone you know is suffering from depression, encourage him/her to get help before its too late
Be there and support them - Something that will always help is to be there, and to make sure they know that they're not alone. Make sure they know that you care for them and try to raise their self esteem
Raise awareness - Use social media, donate to charities, and much more can help more teens seek help, and make sure more people know about the symptoms and signs of depression so we can help those around us who are suffering