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May 4th, 2013

Depression/Self Injury – Recognize the Signs

Depression isn’t just about being very sad; it is an illness that affects nearly every part of life. This is especially true in teens where the illness of clinical depression is often masked by irritability, acting out, drug use, and anger. About one in
twenty teens suffers from depression at any given time. Sometimes depression is an inherited condition. Sometimes it grows out of trauma or other seriously negative events, and often is prompted by a combination of both factors. If left untreated, teen depression may lead to failure at school, running away, addictive difficulties, social/emotional withdrawal, and suicide. It is important for parents to know the signs and symptoms, and take immediate steps to treat the depression.

Depression is a problem many kids face that often disguises itself as normal “mood swings” due to puberty or teenage development. Therefore, it is often ignored until something more serious happens, like a suicide attempt, self-injury, or a serious risk-taking behavior that gets the kid in trouble. If you think your kid is depressed, do not ignore your observations. There are things you can do and steps you can take that will help them overcome depression. If it turns out it was normal behavior, you have shown you cared enough to check it out.

  • Depression:
  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness and/or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities or hobbies
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Overeating, or appetite loss
  • Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts
  • Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Suicide:
  • Family history of depression or suicide
  • Unresolved losses (deaths, moves, job loss, etc.)
  • Family conflicts
  • Teen pregnancy
  • Medical problems (sleeping, eating, pain)
  • Academic failure / Learning problems
  • Mentioning suicide or a direct warning about suicide
  • Plan to commit suicide / past attempts
  • Stressful events / community trauma
  • Rigid thinking / impulsiveness

Get Involved

parents

Navigating the adolescent years is one of the largest and toughest responsibilities we will face as parents. It is scary to see someone that you care about engage in harmful choices. We are here to help you to prevent your child from making damaging life choices.

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students

We're here to help you face and overcome potentially life-derailing challenges. Discover the many ways in which you can amplif(i) your voice in the name of making good decisions. We're here as an informative, inspirational resource as we share our personal stories. Join the movement by sharing your story and speaking up for yourself and the people you love who may be going through a hard time.

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educators

You are an educator, influential in the lives of the students and parents you serve. Creating a positive culture within your classroom starts and ends with you. We are here as a resource for your school to make sure every classroom environment is one that is conducive to positive learning and growth.

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