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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Teen Depression /Teen Suicide

A recent survey of over 900 parents reported that 90% felt they were confident they could tell if their child was suicidal or depressed. But a team of researchers from Columbia University stated that only 1/3 of all depressed teens were diagnosed by their parent, doctor or teacher.

Why is it hard to diagnosis teen depression?
Many of the symptoms of teen depression are similar to “regular changes” of teens during their adolescent years. Signals for depression include:
o Radical change in your child's identity
o Radical change in grades
o Radical change in attitude (sudden burst in anger, dangerous behaviors)
o Sudden, radical change in friends
o Loss of interest in what was previously enjoyable activities (apathy)
o Isolation from friends and family
o Increased use of drugs or alcohol

What are some imminent danger signs?
o Talking about death or wanting to die
o Suicidal thoughts, plans or fantasy
o Previous suicide attempts
o Friends who have attempted suicide
o Giving away personal possessions
o Telling a friend about suicide
o Writing a suicide note
What are some things parents can do?
o Be curious. Know what's going on in your teen's life.
o Talk openly about the deaths of friends and have a candid discussion about suicide and it's effects / consequences
o Let teens know about crisis intervention and suicide hotline
(the Peoria suicide line: TeensNeedTeens at 309.673.7373)
o Model healthy behaviors for problem solving. Teach your teen how to deal with stressful events and minimizing depression
o Ask about your teen's friends-especially what they admire or like about their friends.
o Find opportunities for group support (school programs, teen groups, etc)
o Stay involved in their lives. Keep the communication going.
o Call a licensed mental health clinician if you have any concerns


Anonymous said...

Great Info! Teen depression is a serious problem that is over looked in our society. We as parents forget how stressful school can be and need to realize that our children at ANY AGE have problems to deal with like we do.
I would personally have a problem identifying my teens depression. He hides his feelings so well, and has been through a lot in the past few years. It scares the crap out of me.

Anonymous said...

Interesting to know.