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May 4th, 2013

Depression/Self Injury – Parent Guide

Ask your kids about the amplif(i) presentations they saw at school.

What choices did the speaker make that they can or cannot relate to, what did they learn?

Tell your kids what your family’s position is on depression and self injury.

Talk to your spouse, agree on your family’s position, and share that with your kid. Make that position very clear and always remain consistent, don’t waiver.

It can be difficult to tell depression from normal teen moodiness.

It is recommended that when signs of depression occur suddenly or in combination with each other, it may need to be evaluated more seriously by a professional.

Show your kid that you care.

If you suspect your kid may be struggling with depression symptoms, let them know you are concerned in an honest, caring way.

Communicate your concerns without judgment.

There is no single known cause of depression. Some types of depression tend to run in families, suggesting a genetic link. However, depression can occur in people without family histories of depression as well.

Ask your kid to explore their symptoms and feelings with a counselor or physician who deals with depression.

Depressive illnesses are disorders of the brain. The parts of the brain responsible for regulating mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior appear to function abnormally, and your kid may need medication to assist.

Explore the reasons your kid may feel the way they do.

Trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. Subsequent depressive episodes may occur with or without an obvious trigger.

If your kid is not ready to listen, don’t give up.

Let your kid know you are there to provide support and listen when they are ready. Don’t pressure them to talk, but ensure that they know they can always go to you to discuss how they may be feeling.

Educate yourself on signs, symptoms, and causes of depression.

Talk to your doctor about your kid’s behavior; make an appointment for your kid to see their doctor as well. There could be a physical reason for them to be showing some of the symptoms of depression. Check your family medical history. Look for patterns of depression and share what you find with your kid.

Talk with your kid about your concerns.

Ask your kid about their thoughts and feelings regarding their behavior and note how it compares to signs of depression. Let them know that you are concerned and are there to help.

Consult with a specialist in adolescent psychology.

List the warning signs and behaviors that you have noticed and ask for a recommendation or a consultation meeting with your kid.

Respect your kid’s privacy.

Make it a point to be diligent in helping them locate the professional resources they need for assistance. Be sure to protect their confidentiality while seeking professional help.

Remember the issues that increase the likelihood of suicidal behavior.

Such as family history of mood disorders, substance abuse, history of child abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional), family history of suicide attempts or completions, history of previous suicide attempts, a diagnosis of ADHD, current relationship problems (especially family or significant other), having access to weapons or prescription medicine.


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