Every 100 minutes a teen commits suicide. That is nearly 15 per day. Suicide is the third-leading cause of death among teenagers and those between the ages of 15 and 24. There are many causes of teenage suicide. It is difficult to pinpoint, but one of the most common is depression. This mental disorder causes the feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness. They are usually overwhelmed by painful emotions and see death as the only permanent solution. Approximately 75 percent of the teens who commit suicide suffer from depression. This is a serious problem that impacts how teens think, feel, and act (behavioral issues).
Teen Depression Signs and Symptoms
Many of the warning signs of possible suicidal feelings are also symptoms of depression. Observations of the following by parents may be helpful in identifying the teen that may be at the risk of attempting suicide.
- Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and even anger
- Crying spells without a reason
- Guilt and worthlessness feelings
- Easily annoyed without being provoked
- Low self-confidence
- Trouble concentrating and making decisions
- Loss of energy and motivation
- Insomnia or sleeping way too much
- Loss of appetite or increase in appetite
- Alcohol and/or drug use
- Increased isolation
- Self-harm or suicidal thoughts and/or gestures
- Poems, essays and drawings that refer to death
- Severe drop in school performance
- Obsession with death
- Poor performance in school
There are so many symptoms beyond this. Many are very unique to a teen. Not one teen’s depression is the same as the others. One common belief is that depression is a weakness, but this is the furthest thing from the truth. According to Comprehensive Med Psyche Systems, a psychiatrist in Indianapolis IN, “Understanding that depression is unique to the person’s experience will help find the best teen depression treatment possible, whether it is via therapy, medication, or a combination of multiple treatments”.
To combat the rising teen depression rates, you first need to get at the root of the problem. Let’s take a deeper look at the most common potential depression factors among teens.
Most Common Potential Depression Factors among Teens
1. Begin by Examining Home Life:
Sometimes parents begin looking at why their teen is depressed in other places when the problem may in fact begin in the home. Now the home may not be the only depression factor, but why not start in a place you 100 percent can control and change? Issues in the home are commonly the cause for depression in most teens. One of the biggest issues could happen during puberty, when teens want to shift their time more toward friends than family, causing home issues.
This shift at home can cause serious dysfunction in the family unit, and very serious cases, abuse of the child will happen, physical and/or verbal. This can be the catalyst for depression. Between stress at school and abuse at home, teens can become very depressed and feel like their world is crashing down.
2. Bullying Causes Depression Among Teens:
The problem of bullying has taken on a whole new form, becoming one of the most common reasons behind depression among teens, as well as reasons behind teen suicide.
According to stopbullying.gov, 28 percent of students between grades 6 and 12 are bullied, and 20 percent of students in grades 9 through 12 experience bullying. That is a massive percentage rate for bullying in schools. However, this is even higher when factoring in cyberbullying. Bullying can be seen in certain groups of teens than others, research has found. For example, LGBT teens are more susceptible to bullying. This leads to a bigger issue of how minority groups are singled out in the case of bullying.
3. Family History of Depression and Other Mental Health Issues:
Depression may not always be triggered by the actions of outside forces. In some cases, depression is part of a genetic marker or a family history of mental health issues. This factor of teen depression may be more challenging for parents.
“Depression can be hereditary, often skipping generations,” Dr. Richard Honaker, Chief Medical Advisor at Your Doctors Online said. “This can cause isolation of your teen if communication about hereditary depression is not made a family discussion.”
If you are noticing signs and symptoms of depression in your teen, but don’t exactly know why, it could be a good idea to dig into family history. This can be revealing and help you come up with a family plan to get your teen depression treatment for better overall mental health.
4. Poor Academic Performance Causes Depression:
There is a strong relation between academic stress and suicide ideation. Family pressure, expectations to excel put pressure on teens. They may not be able to live up to these expectations and hence suicide may appear to be the only solution to their problems. According to some research, the number of suicide cases is year usually increase during the time of examination when the teens and children experience a high level of stress in school.
How to Help Them?
Take all warning signs seriously. If you are noticing unusual behavior in your child, talk to him. There will always be a specific reason that why he or she is acting weird. If you talk with your child, this will make him realize that you care about him and that you are always available to talk about the situation. Also, talk to the physician so that he may be able to discuss the situation with the teen or recommends a counselor or prescribe medication.
How Can it be Treated?
Treatment usually depends on the type and severity if your teen’s depression symptoms. Here is a closer look at depression treatment options:
Medications: Medications are used to elevate levels of neurotransmitters in the brain which affect the mood. A large number of researches have shown the effectiveness of the depression medications in relieving the symptoms of teen depression. Everyone is different so finding the right medication for your teen may need some trial and error. Always encourage your teen not to give up.
Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy also known as psychological counseling is a general term for treating depression by talking about depression and related issues with a mental health professional.
Hospitalization: Sometimes, depression is so severe that a hospital stay is needed. Getting psychiatric treatment at the hospital can help keep your teen calm and safe until symptoms are better managed.
Home remedies: In addition to professional treatments, here are some tips that you and your teen may take at home:
Sticking to the Treatment Plan: Make sure that your teen is attending the appointments carefully even if she or he doesn’t feel like going. Even if your teen feels well, make sure that he is taking his medicine regularly.
Make Sure that your Teen is Adopting Healthy Habits: Regular exercise even very little exercise daily can reduce the symptoms of depression. Getting healthy amount of sleep is very important for your teens, especially those with depression.
Learn about Depression: Education can empower your teen and can help him to stick to the treatment. It can also help your other loved ones to learn about depression and understand that it is a treatable condition.
Encourage Communication with your Teens: Talk to the teens about the changes you are observing and create an environment where your teen can share his concerns while you listen.
Eliminate or Limit Access to Items your Teen can use Self-Harm: This includes removing sharp items, alcohol or any other risky medications that your teen can use to harm him.
Structure Time: Help your teen plan activities by making lists or using a planner to stay organized. Sticking to a regular routine may help improve mood.
Stay Active: Participation in sports, school activities or jobs can help your teen remain focused on positive thoughts, rather than negative behavior or thinking.
Role of parents in Alleviating Teen Depression:
- Parents should give their teen a breathing room. They should not always expect that their children will do the same as they say.
- Allow your teenager to make mistakes. Overprotecting can be perceived as a lack of confidence in their activities.
- Avoid telling your teenager what to do. This will help you to listen closely and may discover the reasons causing problems.
- If there is someone in the family or friends where your teen fees comfortable to talk with, you might suggest your teen talk to them about his matters.
Is Your Teen At Risk?
The teen suicide rate is too high to ignore depression any longer. With nearly 15 teen suicides per day, the potential depression factors need to be addressed by parents, teachers, communities, as well as state and federal governments. The time is now to address teen depression. The above are just a few depression factors in teens. There are a lot more, like social media use, drugs and alcohol, and major changes in life or routine. The key is to identify the signs and symptoms and start the discussion about depression and the causes with teens before its too late.