As if our younger lives aren't stressful enough, between coping with our first days in school, the possibility of siblings, even moving and any number of other minor changes to the lives we know and become comfortable with, the shift from 'child' into 'teenager' is one filled with emotional turmoil and hormonal eruption.
Everything changes when you hit that magical thirteen years old. For those affected by an early puberty, there may be nothing special about becoming thirteen except the classification as an "official teenager," but for some the first year as a teen is riddled with something very dangerous: depression.
Studies have shown that not only do one in ten teenagers suffer some emotional or mental malady, but one in eight suffer from depression. Taking a serious look at the term depression and what it means, let's separate the emotional affliction from the normal rollercoaster of emotions that teenagers face.
Teenage depression is characterized by ongoing and long-term feelings of hopelessness, unexplained sadness, lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities, and general lack of self-worth. Any of these traits combined and experienced for a long period of time should be addressed by parents and in many cases, outside professional assistance.
Teens and Suicide
Alarming statistics can be found in newspapers, on websites and through various studies:
- One in five teenagers considers suicide
- Suicide is the third leading cause of teenage death
- About one in six teens have made suicide plans
- One in twelve teens has attempted suicide
- Nearly all cases of teenage depression ending in suicide could have been prevented if the symptoms were recognized
Are you shocked? Scared for your teenage son or daughter? Then pay attention to your children. Many of these cases of teenage depression, suicide attempts, and deaths can be dealt with starting at home, and continuing with therapy and counselling.
If you have noticed your son or daughter's behavior changing, signs of depression lingering, or believe your child to be suffering from any sort of emotional problem, please get assistance. The links below are great places to go to if you need help:
The teenage years of life are a tumultuous time filled with change. You can help your teenager by being supportive, staying positive even through their mood swings and odd moments, and by remaining consistant in your systems of rewards and punishments.
Do not be afraid to get assistance if you feel your child may be in danger due to depression. On the other hand, pay attention to your child's mood swings. A little sadness or moments of quiet are perfectly normal in a teenager. All the same, remain alert for warning signs of self-harm.