Tuesday
Nov052013

Teen depression and suicide

“When I was your age, we didn’t have to worry about the things you parents have to worry about these days..”  How many of us have heard our elders echo this newfound revelation-in fact, it’s most likely the exact same “words of wisdom” that our parents heard from their parents.  It’s like a family heirloom that gets passed on to each consecutive generation.  Perhaps that is because with each generation, the challenges become greater and the journey to success takes longer. 

There are so many obstacles that teenagers are faced with-Raging hormones, break-ups, peer pressure, cyber bullying, addiction…these factors can have a negative impact on a teenager’s life.  If not dealt with directly, it can lead to depression and maybe even suicide.  As parents, we are all too familiar with the unrequited love, endless attempts to fit in with the popular crowd and experimenting with, or even resisting the pressure to use drugs and alcohol.  Whereas cyber bullying, chat rooms and texting did not exist, the constant struggle to “find ourselves” remains timeless for the adolescents of each generation.  Oftentimes, teenagers feel alone, unequipped and uncertain of how to handle the issues that they are faced with.  So how can we recognize signs of depression and suicidal ideation?  The following is a list of signs and symptoms to look for in a child who may be struggling with depression:

Irritability-the adolescent is often upset or moody for no apparent reason.

Loss of interest-he no longer participates in afterschool activities, sports, etc.

Fatigue-she is always tired, struggles to stay alert and wants to sleep.

Feelings of guilt or worthlessness-she feels guilty about having thoughts of self-harm or asking others for help.

Here is a list of signs that your child may be contemplating suicide:

Giving away possessions.

School grades plummeting.

Lack of social interaction/friendships.

Preoccupation with death in writing, converstaion, music.

Reckless behaviors: substance abuse, sexual promiscuity.

If your teenager or someone else’s adolescent, is showing signs or symptoms of depression or you suspect suicidal ideation, there are some things you can do to help:

Talk to your child about what it is that may be bothering him.

Contact your child’s general physician to rule out any other causes for her behaviors.

Seek further treatment from a Therapist who can help your child deal with his symptoms of depression in a positive manner and help your family cope. 

You can also contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

 Reference list:

WebMD. (April 2011). Warning signs of suicide in children and teensRetrieved November 4, 2013, from http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/warning-signs-of-suicide-in-children-and-teens-topic-overview.

HelpGuide.org. (August 2013). Teen depression: A guide for parents.  Retrived November 4, 2013, from http://www.helpguide.org/mental/depression_teen.htm.

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