Counseling for Teen Depression
Depression in teenagers can be easy to spot. Historically, girls are about twice as likely to suffer from depression as boys.
Signs of Depression in Teenagers
- Social isolation
- Lack of energy
- Expressing negative thoughts about themselves, their future, or the world
- Expressing indifference or lack of interest to things they used to enjoy or talk a lot about.
- Ruminating about negative things that happened in their past
- Negative life events in the recent past like a difficult break-up or a public humiliation could also bring about depression symptoms
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Eating Disorders
Effects of Depression on Teenagers
Depression affects everyone differently. Sometimes depression is not that easy to spot. Teenagers may defend themselves from feelings of depression by turning to anger or reckless behavior. This is not something that happens on purpose but an unconscious attempt to not feel depression. Drug abuse is also a common way teenagers try to keep themselves from feeling depression.
In severe cases teenagers could talk about wanting to kill themselves or say things like "I wish I was never born", "Everything would be better if I was dead" or "Nobody would care if I died". Teens might have even tried to kill themselves in the past. Sometimes teenagers will write suicide notes and/or start giving away their most valuable possessions. These are important warning signs that warrant attention.
It is incredibly important to take threats of suicide or suicidal statements seriously. In most cases suicides do not happen without some kind of warning or signs. If you suspect that your teenager is at risk for suicide ask the questions below. When you ask them be strong and do not fall to pieces emotionally if you hear something painful.
Question to Ask a Suicidal Teenager
1. Do you want to kill yourself?
Do not sugar coat it. Ask this question directly and bluntly.
2. Have you ever tried to kill yourself before?
Do not assume that you know the answer to this question just because you are their parent or caregiver. If their is a history of suicidal behavior or gestures it is essential that you know about it.
3. Do you have a plan to kill yourself?
Get details. Ask about when, where and how they would do it even if they say they are not serious about it. Think about their ability to actually carry out the plan. For example, if the plan is to die in an airplane crash and they do not have the ability to get on an airplane easily that's important to know and you should act as soon as possible to get your teen help. However, if the plan is to jump in front of a bus tomorrow after school then its time to do something now.
What To Do If Your Teenager Admits He Is Suicidal?
Obviously an answer of "yes" do any of these questions merits action on your part to get your teenager help. A good first step is to call the suicide hot-line at 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255 and explain the situation. Next, if your teenager says yes to every question above I would strongly suggest that you take your child to the hospital. There the staff may decide to do something called a "baker act" which means that your child will be admitted to the hospital for 72 hours and kept safe while they evaluate the situation. When it comes to suicide it is better to over react that under react.
Resources of Parents
Please read Miami Teen Counseling's blog. It has several articles that discuss teenager depression as well as other helpful resources for parents.
If you believe that your teenager may be suffering from depression and would like to talk to Miguel Brown give him a call at 786-664-7426. If you would like to come into our office request a Consultation by filling out the form to your right.
By Miguel Brown