The Effects of Teenage Depression

Every year, 2 million young people attempt to end their life in the United States, and many of them require hospitalization for the injuries they receive as a result. Sadly, based on statistics from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, approximately 2,000 of these suicide attempts are successful.

Young girl suffering from teenage depression

Why is Your Teenager Depressed?

The adolescent years are typically difficult, but some kids have a harder time than others. Statistics show that teenage females develop depression twice as often as males, and those who have grown up with physical or emotional abuse, chronic health problems or a family member with depression are also at risk. However, just because your child had a happy life and a positive living environment, you shouldn’t assume that he or she is immune to the disorder.

Signs to Watch Out For

A depressed teen and a suicidal teen are two very different things. Some people suffer from depression and never think of suicide, and some may seem happy on the surface but are secretly planning their way out.

If your teen has ever had a prior suicide attempt, you should naturally be more watchful over him or her, especially if you see indications of hopelessness, substance abuse, impulsive tendencies, aggression or self-harming practices. If your teen has recently experienced a major loss of any sort, including the suicide of a friend or family member, you should be extra careful. You should also check your teen’s Internet habits. These days, blogs and forums devoted to the “romance” of depression, self-harm and suicide are popping up everywhere. It is easy for a depressed teen to be inspired to do terrible things witnessing peers doing the same.

Important Not to Panic

As a parent, it’s your number one job to protect your teen and keep him or her alive. This means that when dealing with suicidal depression, it’s crucial that you control your own emotions and provide a strong, nurturing support system for your child. If you get upset or angry upon hearing suicidal thoughts or seeing evidence of self-harm, it could not only discourage your child from ever coming to you again, it could cause an incredible amount of guilt that will add to the depression. Suffering from depression is bad enough without worrying about the toll it takes on parents.

Even if you feel overwhelmed at times, it’s important to reassure your child that his or her depression, no matter how bad, is nothing you can’t deal with. Create a support system of family, doctors and therapists, and work together to help your teen through this problem. Many depressed teens get the help they need to move on to live beautiful, successful lives. With the right help, your child can be one of them.

Keep Loving Yourself, Debra

Debra Beck

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